By Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman, USAFDecember 20, 2007
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Dec. 20, 2007) - Afghan National Security Forces, assisted by coalition forces, delivered tons of much-needed humanitarian assistance to hundreds of villagers in Angurdarrah and Gadaykhel and other villages throughout Nangarhar province Dec. 16-18.
ANSF, including members of the Afghan National Police, delivered some two tons of blankets, toys, soccer balls, flour, rice, prayer rugs, storage bags and other items to more than 350 adults and 650 children who showed up to receive the goods.
The children, some covered with colorful scarves, smiled and thanked the ANP members who provided toys, stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books.
Maj. Jeremy Mcquire, a Kohe Safi Police Mentor Team leader brought along 200 stuffed animals that his Aunt Marcy Grace Kelley had donated. He nicknamed the humanitarian aid drop Bernice in honor of the name he gave his first stuffed animal, given by his aunt, when he was 5.
"Operation Bernice shows how the coalition forces, the ANP, government leaders of Kohe Safi and people in the U.S., can work together to help the people of Afghanistan," the major said.
The provincial sub-governor, responsible for the districts, specifically requested assistance from the ANP after hearing from area chiefs and village elders. It was also a way to reward villagers who have ensured the relative safety of the districts by making the area inhospitable to insurgents.
"The villagers were very happy to receive the much-needed items. Many of the goods will help them endure the onset of freezing winter temperatures. The people recognize the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan truly cares for the general welfare of the population," said a coalition Soldier. "Afghan National Security Forces and the ANP are trying to improve their quality of life."
Coalition forces frequently meet with village elders, ANP chiefs and regional sub-governors to see how they can help.
(Staff Sgt. Erin Tallman, USAF, serves with CJTF-82 Public Affairs.)