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    Afghan Hero Recovers Once More

    Lt. Col. Hamid Saifi Receives American Flag Patch While Recovering

    Photo By Capt. Joe Legros | Afghan Army Lt. Col. Hamid Saifi receives an American patch while recovering in a NATO...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Joe Legros 

    Michigan National Guard

    Afghan Hero Recovers Once More

    Dust hangs in the air and the echo of an explosion rings in his ears. A convoy of Afghan Humvees comes to an abrupt stop and Hamid’s comrades immediately assess the aftermath of an improvised explosive device (IED). IEDs are the insurgent’s weapon of choice along this perilous route.

    Afghan Border Forces had arisen early for a convoy between the northern Afghanistan provinces of Jowzjan and Balkh the morning of June 6, 2020. While there are many potential obstacles to overcome during convoy operations, Afghan Army Lt. Col. Hamid Saifi, commander of 1st Border Battalion, 6th Brigade of 209th Corps, was focused on successfully crossing a well-known chokepoint, a narrow strip of highway with no other route alternatives.

    “That was the spot along our route which concerned me the most,” shares Hamid.

    Hamid breathed a little easier when the convoy’s first vehicle made it through the area; however, a moment later, he was hanging upside down inside a mangled chunk of metal, barely recognizable as the second Humvee to cross the chokepoint.

    “Two of my fellow Soldiers got out of the vehicle immediately and could see that I needed help getting out,” says Hamid. “The turret gunner and another passenger survived the IED, but two of my friends died from the explosion.”

    The blast was so forceful that the driver and another passenger were ejected from the vehicle. Face bloodied, hip fractured and barely able to move, Hamid had to be strategically extracted from the crushed Humvee by other Soldiers.

    Despite the shock of hitting an IED, Hamid still found the courage to post a video of the experience to social media only minutes later. With a determined spirit, he proved to more than 38,000 of his Facebook followers that it would take a lot more to remove him from the fight. Not only did this raise the morale of his fellow Soldiers, the video generated more than 7,500 reactions, 1,300 comments and 710 shares from his loyal friends and family.

    The overwhelming majority of commenters wished him a speedy recovery, thanking him for his service and mourning the loss of his fellow Soldiers. Photos of the IED blast show a completely destroyed Humvee, leaving many to wonder how anyone survived.

    Hamid was quickly transferred from the scene of the blast to the NATO military base at Camp Marmal in Mazar-e Sharif, where he is currently recovering from a hip injury and other wounds. “The best-case scenario is that he should be back to normal within several weeks,” says German Army Lt. Col. Dr. Stephan Heidenreich, the Camp Marmal clinical director in charge of medical organization and procedures.

    Heidenreich also serves as Intensive Care Physician overseeing Hamid’s treatment. Hamid is in good spirits and shares war stories in English with his caregivers at the hospital. “He is very interesting and tells everyone that this is not his first time being injured in battle,” adds Heidenreich.

    Hamid excitedly shares the fact that this is his fourth time in the hospital as an Afghan Soldier. “I have been in two vehicles hit by IEDs now, but once I was too close to an 84mm mortar strike and another time I was hit by friendly fire along with a British colleague.” On each occasion, he recovered enough to return once more to the battlefield.

    “When I dress in my military uniform, I feel a sense of pride,” shares Hamid. “It makes me feel ready to sacrifice everything for my country.” Even while recovering from multiple injuries, his motivation and energy overflow to those around him.

    While Hamid and his fellow Soldiers, along with the rest of Afghanistan, look forward to the hope of peace in the upcoming intra-Afghan negotiations, he says he will be ready to do whatever his country asks of him. At 37 years old, he has spent the majority of his life fighting for the country he loves.

    With a reassuring and resolute smile, Hamid concludes, “When I get better, I will be ready to face Afghanistan’s enemies on the battlefield once more.”



    Date Taken: 06.16.2020
    Date Posted: 06.17.2020 06:50
    Story ID: 372287
    Location: MAZAR-E-SHARIF, AF 
    Hometown: BALKH PROVINCE, Af
    Hometown: KABUL, AF
    Hometown: KUNDUZ, AF
    Hometown: MAZAR-I-SHARIF, AF

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