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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A girl from the nomadic Kuchi tribe herds sheep to be de-wormed and vaccinated at a Veterinary Outreach Sustainment Program in the Noor Gal District of Afghanistan's Kunar Province Jan. 8. An Afghan team, directed by the Kunar Provincial veterinarian, is conducting a series of six VOSPs Jan. 4-12 for the Kuchi tribes in Kunar. During the first two VOSPs for the Kuchis, Ghalib's team treated 3,550 animals, mostly sheep. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. Peter Shinn/RELEASED)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.”

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team veterinary officer, encourages Dr. Roshan, a licensed veterinarian who is part of a team directed by the Kunar provincial veterinarian. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. Peter Shinn/RELEASED)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Kuchi tribesman and Afghan veterinary workers herd sheep toward the chutes where the animals were de-wormed and vaccinated as part of a Veterinary Outreach Sustainment Program for the nomadic Kuchi tribesman camped in the Noor Gal District of Afghanistan's Kunar Province Jan. 8. The VOSPs are underwritten by the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team and implemented by the Kunar provincial veterinarian. During the first two VOSPs for the Kuchis, Ghalib's team treated 3,550 animals, mostly sheep. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. Peter Shinn/RELEASED)KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - A Kuchi child looks on as veterinary workers de-worm and vaccinate a sheep belonging to nomadic Kuchi tribesman camped in the Noor Gal District of Afghanistan's Kunar Province Jan. 8. The Kunar provincial veterinarian and a team of Afghan veterinary professionals are conducting a series of six Veterinary Outreach Sustainment Programs Jan. 4-12 for the Kuchi tribes in Kunar. During the first two VOSPs for the Kuchis, Ghalib's team treated 3,550 animals, mostly sheep. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Capt. Peter Shinn/RELEASED)

 

    

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