PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – On a quiet, sunny day in a small rented space in the heart of Charikaar’s residential area, a woman’s eyes welled up with tears. She sat on the red carpeted floor alone with her feet pulled in close and arms wrapped around her knees as she sobbed quietly into her bright purple scarf. She picked her head up out of the scarf in her hands to look up at two women interpreters of Task Force Red Horse with eyes red from burning tears.
As she stood up to greet them as best as she could, the interpreters swooped in to hold her, quickly and softly uttering words to console this new widow. Task Force Red Horse came to provide her a “hero payment” in honor of her husband who was recently killed while attempting to disarm an improvised explosive device near Bagram Airfield Dec. 4.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dave Updegraff, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Red Horse commander and Wauconda, Ill., resident, arranged to give the widow of Afghan National Police 1st Lt. Faridullah, the son of Aminulla, a payment of 109,500 afghani Dec. 13 at the family’s home. Updegraff was accompanied by ANP Col. Abdul Rauf Uruzgani, chief of the ANP for Bagram District.
“I told my husband several times to leave this dangerous job,” said the widow to the interpreters. “I told him I prefer to stay home and eat nothing, but he never accepted. Now he is gone.”
Faridullah leaves behind a wife and three children ranging in age from 3 to 8. Shortly before he was killed, he bought property and was in the process of building a new home for his family.
“The money we were able to give to the widow will never replace her husband,” said Updegraff. “But we hope it will help her along until the Afghan government pension kicks in. (The payment of) 109,500 afghani equates to $2,500 in U.S. dollars, and is the maximum amount we are authorized to give for a hero payment.”
“The hero payment,” Updegraff continued, “isn’t something we provide to every fallen ANP. Faridullah died attempting to disarm an IED which my Soldiers could have hit on the battlefield: he died in support of coalition efforts. Because he was helping the coalition, I felt it rose to the level of a hero payment.”
Faridullah disarmed IEDs for three years as a member of the ANP explosive ordinance department. The IED he was attempting to disarm was rigged with dummy wiring. When he thought he had disarmed the bomb, he began the removal when it detonated, killing him.
The widow and family are now in the care of Faridullah’s brother who plans to move them back to where the widow’s family resides.
|< Prev||Next >|