NEWS | June 20, 2014

ANA bolster residents’ confidence with humanitarian aid

By by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston, ISAF Regional Command South

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Afghan National Security Forces worked to build networks and lasting relationships with the people they serve through humanitarian aid efforts June 11 in the village of Mirogul Kalay, Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

The Afghan National Army's 4th Kandak, 2nd Mobile Strike Force, 205th Corps, put a good foot forward by handing out work boots, volleyballs, toys and clothing.

“These humanitarian aid missions serve as a partnership between the ANA and the population, and that partnership will assist them in the future to keep Afghanistan a safe place,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Roshell, 4th Inf. Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Division.

The 4th IBCT assisted the ANA in carrying out the mission and coordinating with the villagers and their leaders.

“We met with the village elders beforehand so as to not show up with humanitarian aid and just hand it out for the sake of handing it out,” said 1st Lt. Jeffrey Lee, 1st Inf. Bn., 12th Inf. Regt.

“Humanitarian aid is more of a gesture to say we’re here to help and we want to establish some sort of network. So if there ever is an issue in the town, they know who to call.”

Lee went on to explain how, “your gestures mean a lot more than what you can say, so humanitarian aid was the vehicle to establish that rapport.”

An equally important focus for the mission was to show the villagers the ANSF is in the lead when it comes to security in an area where neither Coalition Forces nor the ANSF have had much of a presence.

“This mission was pretty effective because it put a small footprint of presence in Mirogul Kalay,” Roshell said. “All of the kids saw the ANA passing out all of the gifts so it put their face on it.”

After talking to the elders and with security established, a corridor of concertina wire was set up and village elders alongside the ANA handed out gifts to the children of Mirogul Kalay.

“The villagers overall were pretty pleased with the ANA coming down here and setting this up to lend a hand, and it gave an image to the ANA as servants of the nation,” Lee said.

Lee said his platoon’s assistance to the ANA is an important focus to leave a good legacy to Afghanistan and to his brothers-in-arms who have preceded them.

“When you hear of all the sacrifices that people have made over the last 13 years and to be able to see the ANSF succeed in their capacity, your efforts safeguard that effort. It feels good to help strengthen that image they (the ANSF) have with the people.”