Afghans Help Pakistani Earthquake Victims
By Staff Sgt. Victoria Meyer, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2005 Members of the Afghan National Army are helping Pakistan recover from the magnitude 7.6 earthquake that struck South Asia Oct. 8.
Four ANA Air Corps helicopters, crews, maintenance personnel and medical teams deployed from Kabul to Pakistan Oct. 11 with medical supplies, food and water to assist earthquake-relief efforts.
Officials from the Ministry of Defense, including the assistant minister for acquisition technology and logistics, Maj. Gen. Aljah Baz M. Jawhary; Dr. Nadera Hayat Burhani, deputy minister of public health; and Maj. Gen. Shahzada, a senior official from the Disaster Response Department, offered the medical teams words of encouragement before they departed for the humanitarian mission.
"It is our Islamic and governmental goal to support the earthquake relief," Jawhary said. "President Karzai and the minister of defense want you to go, and we thank you for being volunteers (for this mission). We want you all to do your best to help the victims of the catastrophe.
"You all feel their grief better than anyone else because our country has seen much civil war, and we know what it is like to lose everything," he said.
The ANA and the Ministry of Public Health each provided two metric tons of medical supplies, such as antibiotics, bandages and surgical supplies. Twenty ANA doctors, including three women, from the National Military Hospital in Kabul and 14 doctors from the Ministry of Public Health deployed. They have the capability to perform general and orthopedic surgery.
Five U.S. servicemembers from Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan Air Division and four OSCA interpreters accompanied the flight crews and are assisting in relief efforts.
As of Oct. 21, the ANA had flown 136 sorties and had airlifted 310 casualties and more than 123,390 pounds of supplies, including food, water, blankets and medical supplies.
ANA Surgeon General Maj. Gen. Yaftali; his deputy, also a physician; an ANA colonel with a background in combat medicine; and a Ministry of Health emergency medical technician joined the team in Pakistan Oct. 17. They took an additional 2,000 pounds of medical supplies, including pain treatments, bandages and nutritional supplements for victims of the earthquake.
Following Afghan and Muslim culture, the Afghan government is giving all they can to help others in need. "Even though Afghanistan is a poverty-stricken country, we will still help our neighboring countries," Jawhary said.
(Air Force Staff Sgt. Victoria Meyer is assigned to the Office of Security Cooperation Afghanistan.)