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Afghan, Coalition Forces Provide Medical Aid to Hundreds of Afghans

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2007 – Afghan national security forces, advised by coalition forces, recently brought medical assistance to Afghan civilians in Shewan, Farah province, Afghanistan.

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An Afghan pharmacist selects the appropriate medicine for Afghan civilians during a medical assistance engagement in Shewan, Farrah province, Afghanistan, Aug. 30. Defense Dept. photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The assistance, which took place Aug. 30, was possible only after a large-scale Afghan force movement caused insurgents to flee the city. Before the operation, Shewan was considered the most Taliban infested area in the Farah Province, coalition officials said.

Almost all of the medical treatment was provided by local Afghan doctors.

“We announced the MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) in the days leading up to the event, and minutes after we started, we already had about 150 people waiting to be treated,” said a coalition officer who was having conversations with local nationals to gauge public thoughts and feelings.

The team of Afghan doctors treated 811 villagers, including 235 men and 576 women and children during the one-day program. Common complaints were musculoskeletal pain, upset stomach, and dehydration.

“I can’t believe the turnout today,” Dr. Darishyar, a Farah province surgical doctor, said. “Shewan is becoming a safer place. I enjoy this and look forward to helping my countrymen again.”

Afghan National Army soldiers and Afghan National Police officers provided security for the event. Before patients could be examined, they were registered into a national citizen database and were scanned for dangerous items.

“I really wanted to do this job today,” one Afghan soldier said. “It makes me happy when we can give things to people who really need it. This kind of event is why I’m happy to be in the (Afghan National Army).”

Overall, coalition and Afghan leaders alike dubbed the event a success. More medical engagements are planned for the future as well as various civil affairs projects.

“ANSF and coalition cooperation with Afghan civilians signals a bright future for the people of Shewan,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a CJTF-82 spokesperson. “Residents can look forward to additional support from the government and seeing their city grow and develop to be one of the best in Afghanistan.”

(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)

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