LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)
PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Members of the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team witnessed a scene of controlled chaos when they visited a Veterinary Outreach Sustainment Program for the nomadic Kuchi tribesman camped in the Noor Gal District of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province Jan. 8.
Hundreds of sheep, a handful of working dogs, dozens of Kuchi tribesmen and more than 20 veterinary workers produced a cacophony of noise and a frenzy of activity.
The Noor Gal VOSP was one of six such events slated for the Kuchi tribes of Kunar Province Jan. 4-12.
U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, the ADT’s veterinary officer, explained the purpose of the VOSPs, which are underwritten by the ADT and implemented by the Kunar provincial veterinarian.
“The Kuchi are entirely dependent on the health of their sheep for their livelihood,” Adams said. “They keep the ewes for breeding and sell the rams at market, then take that income and buy the food and supplies they need to survive. De-worming and vaccinating their sheep helps the sheep gain weight, so that’s more to sell and more income.”
The Kunar provincial government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is administering the VOSPs for the Kuchis. Adams noted the idea for the Kuchi VOSPs originated with Afghan government officials.
“Kunar Province has a director of Kuchi affairs and the livelihood of the Kuchis is important to the government,” Adams said. “We met with the Kuchi affairs director in November and December and he asked if there wasn’t something we could do to improve the health of their animals, so the VOSPs were a natural fit.”
The Iowa ADT pays for the animal medicines and salaries of the Afghan veterinarians and laborers who actually conduct the VOSPs. Purchasing the medicines, hiring the veterinarians and laborers, selecting the sites and dates for the VOSPs is all handled by Dr. Mohammed Ghalib, the Kunar provincial veterinarian.
“The Kuchis are people with very few resources,” said Ghalib. ”They have no land of their own and so they are, perhaps, a little more dependent on their government and goodwill from others. These VOSPs are very good for the Kuchis and they are very happy with them.”
Salaam, a Kuchi elder, confirmed that he and his tribesman were very pleased with the VOPS. Salaam, however, wanted much more.
“My father and grandfather made a living herding sheep,” Salaam said. “We are an uneducated people. If the government would give us land, we would stay there. Then they could build us a school so our children could become educated.”
Ghalib pointed out that he, as the provincial veterinarian, was not in a position to address Salaam’s larger concerns and cited what the government had done for the Kuchi tribes.
“In the first two VOSPs we treated more than 3,500 animals,” Ghalib said. “We will probably treat 2,000 more here today, and at least another 5,000 over the next three VOSPs.”
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