HERAT PROVINCE, Afghanistan – On the eve of Eid al-Adha, a major holiday in the Islamic culture, Afghan National Army commando medics, assisted by coalition Special Operations Forces, provided healthcare assistance to a small village in the Guzarah district, Nov. 5.
In an effort to strengthen the relationship in the area, the 9th Commando Kandak selected a small village to set up a Village Medical Outreach Program event and gave medical attention to women and children of all ages.
The commandos were also able to put recent medical training to good use and get a feel for conducting a VMOP in the future, without the assistance of SOF.
The event was entirely led by the ANA, as the commandos were successful in coordinating the day with village elders, establishing security for the event and providing medics to tend to villagers’ ailments.
The goal of the medical event was to build trust with the villagers and elders, prompting them to seek medical assistance from the commandos in the future and sparking villagers’ desire to develop local health care in their own village.
“That’s good for the locals in the long-term, because it not only improves their medical care, it also gets them to expect better care,” said a SOF team member. “So, someday they might be driven to build a clinic or a hospital for themselves.”
By establishing a trusting relationship with the villagers, the commandos also expanded their ability to provide security, as the village elders are more likely to divulge information about insurgent threats in the area.
“The fact that we came and tried to do something positive opens the door to [the villagers] trusting us further and, perhaps, even requesting assistance in the future,” said the SOF team member.