News: 'Arctic Wolves' bring purity to local village
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – International Security Assistance Forces soldiers are providing more than just security in southern Afghanistan.
During a recent mission in Dand district of Afghanistan, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, brought purity and cleanliness to the water of Banbalay village.
The ‘Arctic Wolf’ soldiers presented the local village in southern Dand with a water filtration system designed by the 1-5IN Female Engagement Team and 25th Brigade Support Battalion preventive medicine team.
“At the time of our visit, the locals were drinking dirty water due to their broken well,” said Capt. Tammy Smoak, a medical officer with the 25th BSB. “It was a great feeling to know this slow sand filter could provide them with the clean water they need to reduce the prevalence of illness and even provide better tasting water to the community during times they cannot access otherwise safe water.”
The homemade filtration system allows local villagers to purify more than 20 gallons of water at a time.
To ensure that the Afghan locals understood how to properly operate the system, the U.S. soldiers took time to explain how to properly maintain and run the slow sand filter on a daily basis.
“Once built, we unlayered part of the system and relayered it again in front of the locals in a designated area of Banbalay village,” Smoak said. “We brought translated visual aids and had our female language assistant interpret them.”
The ISAF infantrymen and members of the FET said they plan to make routine visits to the district to insure the system is still meeting the needs of the Banbalay residents.
Malik Abdul Ghafar and other village elders welcomed the 1/25th SBCT soldiers and the new addition of the WFS.
During their visit with the local villagers, the FET took the time to talk to the women of the district to address any of their needs or concerns. During the impromptu meeting, the FET presented the Afghan women with Ramadan gifts.
“We were pleased that the people of Banbalay village welcomed us, the water filtration system, and a wide variety of Ramadan gifts with gratitude and excitement,” said Smoak.
Providing aid to the people of the Dand district has been a primary focus among the key leaders of 1-5IN since taking over responsibility for the area earlier this year.
Prior to the water filtration system, the ISAF team worked with District Gov. Nazik to provide more than 300 of the most severely poverty stricken locals with humanitarian aid. Each humanitarian aid package presented to the locals included two boxes of chai, a bag of sugar, rice, noodles and cooking oil.
Their efforts were praised by the Dand government staffs who have continued to work hand in hand with ISAF forces to foster a lasting relationship to include the strong bond with the government of Afghanistan and Afghan National Security Forces.