By Spc. Melissa StewartApril 28, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PASAB, Afghanistan - Female Soldiers on Forward Operating Base Pasab are reaching out to local women of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, by helping to facilitate war claims, facilitating meetings with the district governor and providing much-needed humanitarian aid.
Afghan women must adhere to a strict moral code, prohibiting them from being seen by a man who is not her close relative. By having female Soldiers and interpreters at the district center gate, Afghan females are able to come for help when they need it.
"We assist women (by helping to file) war claims. We also help hand out blankets, crank radios, crank flashlights - the everyday things that we take advantage of," said Spc. Audray Johnsey, a member of the Female Engagement Team, 307th Psychological Operations Company.
Any Afghan can file a war claim. They can claim anything from a goat that was lost in the midst of fighting between U.S. forces and the Taliban, to the loss of their homes or a family member. If Soldiers and Afghan officials investigate the claim and prove it is valid, the plaintiff will receive compensation for the loss.
They are required to get five signatures from village elders and a signature from the district governor before they can bring the claim to the U.S. claims team, and if the claim is legitimate, they will be compensated. "We are the only women's center in all of RC-South, so a lot of women walk four or five miles every Tuesday to come and see us," said Johnsey. "From the time that I started until now, we see more women coming; we have women coming from further and further out."
In addition to helping the women file war claims, FET members also hand out supplies to the women.
"The majority of them are here for blankets and any kind of supplies," said Staff Sgt. Jessica Placker, a member of the FET, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
Helping local women improves the entire area.
"It helps the area, and it shows our compassion," Placker said.