LAGHMAN PROVINCE - A local father rejoiced with overwhelming emotion and relief, when members of the Laghman PRT presented him with a custom-made bed for his special-needs son. Noor Ahmad is the father of Samir Ahmad, 3, who was involved in a life-changing accident in May 2010. Like most Afghan children, Samir was playing near his home in the city of Mehtar Lam, the capitol of Laghman Prov. He ventured too close to the busy street, and too far away from his family to react, as a U.S. convoy moved through the city.The driver of the MRAP vehicle couldn't see the boy as his vehicle struck the child. Samir lay on the road motionless. Medics from the convoy rushed to the child and found that he was miraculously still alive. They evacuated him to nearby FOB Mehtar Lam. Because his injuries were too serious for local treatment, medical personnel evacuated him to Bagram Airfield, where a team of medical professionals worked for hours to save Samir’s life. It's more than a year later, and Samir’s injuries have changed his life. He has been diagnosed with a form of neurological paralysis, which causes sudden, uncontrollable body movements. Ahmad still brings his son to the base weekly, so the medics can clean the child’s feeding tube and check on his condition. He needs constant supervision and care, especially at night when those sudden movements have caused him to fall out of his bed. During a recent treatment visit to the medics at FOB Mehtar Lam, Ahmed relayed the story of how his son falls out of bed during his sleep.
Capt. Deana Porter, physician asst. and medical officer for Laghman PRT, recognized the need for a larger bed with rails and more padding due to Samir’s condition. She turned to AF Senior Airman John Fitzgerald, medical tech, to discuss the possibilities of building a new bed for Samir. He took charge of the project and met with the local carpenter in charge of maintaining the facilities for FOB Mehtar Lam, known only by his first name, Igor. Together, Fitzgerald and Igor designed and built a new bed specifically for Samir. The 6-foot bed with padded rails will protect Samir, prevent him from falling, and is large enough to accommodate him for many years to come.Medics presented the bed to Ahmad, July 20, which, coincidentally, was Samir’s 3rd birthday. When he laid eyes on it, Ahmad’s face brightened and his infectious smile brought a mixture of smiles and tears to the medical staff. Ahmad also managed to muster 2 simple words in plain English, “Thank you.” He said it over and over as he pulled out a laminated photo of his son to show off to everyone. “We just wanted to help mend a wrong,” said Fitzgerald. “We can’t change what happened, nor can anyone be blamed for that terrible accident, but we can offer everything we have to make life a little better for Samir and his family.” The medics carried the bed out to the front gate, and helped Ahmad load it into his transport truck to take it home with him. Ahmad never stopped smiling.
The event marked the first DDP training to involve multiple districts from multiple provs., but it was the second time such training was held at the provincial level. DDP funding is comprised of 3 different funding streams. "Funding stream one is perhaps the most complex, which covers salary, operational, and maintenance costs, said Ullah. The six-hour training seminar focused on funding stream one almost exclusively.Although most Afghan government employees understand the actions required to receive their pay, deductions and supplemental pay are not always clear," said Ullah. The DDP training went into the intricacies of taxation and pay incentives, helping relieve some of the confusion of govt officials and employees. “The training was good,” said Ejaz Mohmand, Kuz Kunar district sub-gov. “It should help with the issues we've had in the past.” Afghan governmental employees receive much of their base pay from their central govt. However, for select individuals, DDP increases salary, making it more comparable and competitive to similar non-civil jobs. Additionally, DDP provides hazard pay, or commonly referred to as hardship allowance, which acts as an incentive for continued employment for specific civil workers. “The DDP actively involves the local communities through the whole process,” said Ullah. “The system contains guidelines to best determine priorities, ensuring we meet the needs of the people.” Operational and maintenance expenditures cover most of the expendable and reoccurring costs associated with running the district govt, which includes such items as supplies, office furniture, vehicle fuel and repairs, transportation and communication costs. "With the DDP training, for the first time in Afghan history, those working in district centers know the process for acquiring necessary items, to keep their offices running,' said Les Garrison, senior governance adviser for Laghman Prov. “This is truly a pioneer effort done entirely by Afghans,” said Garrison. “There was a great turnout from Nangarhar, Laghman, Logar, and Wardak. The training was conducted to world-class standards and illustrates tremendous growth. The training is an important step toward ensuring a clear process is known at all levels of govt," added Garrison. This is just the first of several training events coming in the near future.
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD – The partial completion of a strategic airlift apron at Shindand Airbase gives the USAF added capability as it supports Afghan AF and coalition efforts in western Afghanistan’s Herat prov. Shindand Airbase provides air mobility support for coalition ops, with C-17 aircraft regularly landing on a single runway, and it serves as a training ground for the AAF.“We will start training Afghan pilots here in Sept.,” said AF Col. John Hokaj, cmdr. of the AF’s 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group (AEAG), based at Shindand. “As cargo arrives, we don’t want to interrupt training by having to close down the runway,” Hokaj said. “We asked the Corps of Engineers (USACE), A7 AFCENT [Installations, U.S. Air Forces Central], and the 838th AEAG to develop a plan for completion of a portion of the strategic airlift apron. This taxiway helps us manage all our missions at Shindand without impacting ops.” On July 27, reps of the 838th AEAG and the USACE Afghanistan Engr. District-South ceremoniously opened the first 400 feet of the airlift apron. Hokaj and AF Col. Benjamin Wham II, AED-South cmdr, cut the ribbon to mark the occasion. Shortly thereafter, a C-17 aircraft parked on the taxiway to load some 200 members of the 183rd Maintenance Co, who are redeploying. “These personnel are our first outbound passengers to use this new apron,” Hokaj said. Aircraft Cmdr. AF Capt. Caleb Rasmussen, Air Mobility Command, was enthusiastic about the new parking space. “This area allows us to move off the runway while loading and unloading passengers or cargo,” he said. “If we have maintenance problems, the crews can work on the aircraft where it’s parked. All this keeps the runway open.” The strategic airlift apron has connecting taxiways and shoulders to accommodate the airlift aircraft, pavement markings, utilities and site improvements. The contract also includes a passenger and cargo terminal. The contract is scheduled to be complete by Nov. The strategic airlift apron is one of several U.S. military construction projects aimed at expanding and improving Shindand Airbase, according to AF Capt. Gregory Ward, officer-in-charge, AED-South Shindand Resident Office. “This base is on its way to becoming the premier training base for the AAF and ANA.” Shindand Airbase recently expanded to three times its original size, making it the second largest airfield in Afghanistan.
From left, AF officers Col. Benjamin Wham II, Col. John Hokaj and Capt. Gregory Ward.
This C-17 aircraft is the first to use the partially completed strategic airlift apron at Shindand Airbase.
USACE Contributes to the Counternarcotics Mission
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD — Afghanistan’s illegal narcotics industry undermines the country’s lawful economic development, erodes govt legitimacy, and threatens the nation’s stability and security. One of the key components of the U.S. Govt’s counternarcotics strategy, outlined in March 2010, is helping the GoA develop self-reliant and effective counternarcotics law enforcement entities. That critical piece of U.S. strategy was facilitated recently with the construction of a regional counternarcotics law enforcement center, by the USACE Afghanistan Engr. District-South’s Herat Area Office.“This facility is a flagship, and it will fully support the Ministry of Interior and their specialized units in the fight against drugs and terrorism in Afghanistan,” said Klemm. “But, remember that this building, though beautiful, is merely bricks and mortar. The men and women of the Ministry of Interior and their partners are its heart.”The end user is the Counternarcotics Police of Afghanistan, a special force under the control of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior. The facilities include housing, dining, training and administration buildings. “The facility can accommodate up to 150 Afghan forces, plus 20 coalition mentors from various counternarcotic orgs.,” said Elliott Porter, AED-South project mgr. “The law enforcement center hosts an int'l. team of counternarcotics professionals, like the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, working with the ANP to develop a robust counternarcotics enforcement agency.” In the past, the main focus of U.S. counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan was to fund and support large-scale eradication of poppy fields. In 2010, that strategy changed, and became more closely linked to the existing COIN strategy developed by the DoD. The U.S. Govt’s counternarcotics strategy now includes breaking the narcotics-insurgency-corruption nexus, and helping connect the people to their govt. “This project is part of a national strategy to train a domestic, self-sufficient counternarcotics agency in Afghanistan. The new counter narcotics police will combat trafficking throughout the region,” said Porter. Afghanistan produces approx 90% of the world’s opium, according to U.S. Govt estimates. Law enforcement agents and mentors from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Dept of State Int'l. Narcotics and Law Enforcement, together with law enforcement agents from the Afghan National Interdiction Unit, Afghan Special Narcotics Forces, and the Afghan Central Poppy Eradication Force will stage out of the new facilities.
ISAF Joint Command
ISAF Joint Command morning operational update, July 28, 2011
While searching for the leader, the SECFOR was fired upon by several armed insurgents, and one of the armed insurgents took a family of local residents hostage, while the others continued to fire on the force. The force killed several insurgents without causing harm to the family. The force confiscated a machine gun, several AK-47 assault rifles, RPGs, and blasting caps.In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan: NorthSAR-E PUL PROVINCE -- During a clearance op in Sayad District, an Afghan-led SECFOR detained a suspected insurgent. The SECFOR targeted this area in order to disrupt Taliban activity. SouthKANDAHAR PROVINCE -- In Dand District, an Afghan-led SECFOR detained a suspected insurgent during a security op targeting a Taliban facilitator, yesterday. The facilitator acquires and moves roadside bomb material and weapons for insurgents in the area. EastLOGAR PROVINCE -- An Afghan-led SECFOR killed a Taliban leader who attempted to attack them while disguised in a women’s burqa in Baraki Barak District, yesterday. The leader was responsible for roadside bomb attacks against Afghan forces in Charkh and Baraki Barak Districts. The force discovered him, and several of his associates, at a compound in the district. While conducting on-scene questioning, the SECFOR noticed the leader hiding amongst women and dressed in a burqa. After being identified, the leader fled to a nearby tent and attempted to secure a weapon to attack the force. Once the force observed this action, they engaged the insurgent leader, killing him. The op also resulted in the detention of numerous suspected insurgents for further questioning.KHOST PROVINCE -- In Sabari District, an Afghan-led SECFOR captured a Haqqani network leader and several of his associates, during an op, yesterday. The leader was involved in roadside bomb and direct action attacks against the ANA. ----- An Afghan-led SECFOR detained several suspected insurgents while searching for a Haqqani network leader in Sabari District, yesterday. The Haqqani leader is responsible for roadside bomb and direct fire attacks against Afghan and CF.