News: Coalition forces bring water to a village in Balkh Province
GHANDAKI VILLAGE, Afghanistan – ‘Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink’, is not a traditional saying in northern Afghanistan where water is precious. Most villages in the mountains of northern Afghanistan have to make do with poor quality well water at best. This can change when the Civilian Military Cooperation Office of the International Security Assistance Force, Regional Command North arrives on the scene. With a little elbow grease, and an ISAF – Afghan partnership, a massive water storage container that holds up to 270,000 liters of water was completed for one such village.
Ghandaki village has a population of 500 and lies approximately 40 kilometers southeast of Camp Marmal at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains. It is accessible by dirt roads passing near a few marked
minefields. Ghandaki village is the most recent recipient of a water storage container project by the RC North CIMIC office.
“When ISAF personnel first talk with village elders. The thing they ask for most is usually water. Our main goal is to provide these people with water, because without water you have no life,” said Croatian Army Capt. Ivan L., RC North, CIMIC office area of responsibility coordinator.
The water storage container was first conceived on paper after it was determined the water table was too deep for water to be obtained by traditional methods. It was decided a water container that holds rain water was much more effective for the village. The container was completed in April 2011 at a final cost of $31,610 paid by the Government of Japan. Sealing the tank with special epoxy paint was the final phase to be completed by the village sergeant.
Each village in the area surrounding Camp Marmal has a village sergeant from RC North. The village sergeant works in cooperation with the village to ensure a safe and secure environment for its citizens and his team.
“This mission is about security. Providing water to the local Afghans is one of the best ways I can provide security for the ISAF soldiers,” said the village sergeant, a member of the Force Protection group, Base Command, Camp Marmal. “I can do 400 patrols through villages here, but if I do not help them, it will never be safe for the soldiers.”
Croatian CIMIC Officer Captain Ivan L., and the village sergeant worked together for months to acquire the correct epoxy paint, organize a crew and put security in place in order to close out the project.
The soldiers worked side by side with the Afghans to paint the container. They rotated every 15 minutes until the job was completed.
“All that is left is the acquisition of a water pump and the village Malik will take care of this before the rainy season.
When the rainy season ends in late spring of next year, there should be enough water to support the residents of the village through the five continuing months of dry season,” said the CMIC Captain.
Story by Navy Petty Officer First Class Burt Eichen
United States Forces Afghanistan
Regional Command North Public Affairs Detachment
International Security Assistance Force