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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan National Army Soldier unloads supplies during a combined civil assistance mission in Gardez, Paktya province, Afghanistan, Dec. 29, while local citizens look on. The mission was a combined effort between U.S. Army Soldiers and their ANA counterparts to bring blankets, cooking stoves, food items, shoes and winter jackets to local citizens. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew A. Reagan, 304th Public Affairs Detachment) PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan –  Afghan National Army Soldiers from the 203rd Thunder Corps, their counterparts from the Gardez Provincial Reconstruction team, and U.S. Soldiers assigned to Forward Operating Base Lightning visited citizens in the town of Gardez on a civil assistance mission, Dec. 29.

The mission not only delivered vital supplies to the villagers, including blankets, cooking stoves, food items, shoes and winter jackets, but also gave ANA Soldiers a chance to assist their own people with minimal involvement from the U.S. Army.

“The idea is that the ANA plans the mission, identifies the location and conducts the mission from start to finish,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy L. Hancock of Payson, Utah, with the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion from Pleasant Grove, Utah.  

Hancock said that the U.S. Army purchased the supplies from local merchants, but the rest of the operation was in the hands of the ANA.

“With today’s mission we pushed them from the nest. They can do things on their own. We’re just here for support,” said Hancock.

Capt. Raz Mohammad, a civil affairs officer with the ANA who helped plan the mission, said he has performed this type of mission with the U.S. Army for three years. He said the ANA has more autonomy to plan and perform the missions now than it did in the early days of the partnership. He added that this has allowed the ANA to develop its ability to help its own people.

“Capt. Mohammed worked with the village elder to identify the families that needed humanitarian support. Our only involvement in this mission is supplying humanitarian aid and conducting two training courses a week,” said Hancock.

“The end goal is for them to be self-sufficient, to operate independent of any help from coalition forces and to have a government organization that is sufficient to help the locals in times of emergency,” Hancock added.

The residents of Gardez were grateful to receive humanitarian aid from their own soldiers. 

“The village people are so happy for the government and the army to come in and help us.  Hopefully they will come again and visit us.  They are most welcome anytime and they should know this place is safe,” said Azera Hamat Alah, a resident of Gardez.

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Afghan National Army Soldiers unload supplies for villagers in Gardez, Paktya province, Afghanistan, Dec. 29, during a combined civil assistance mission between the ANA and U.S. Army Soldiers. One of the goals of the mission was for the ANA to plan and conduct the operation with minimal assistance from U.S. forces. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew A. Reagan, 304th Public Affairs Detachment) PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Maj. Edward P. Kuppinger of Rochester, N.Y., combined operations information operations advisor to the Afghan National Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps, observes an ANA soldier unload supplies during a civil assistance mission in Gardez, Paktya province, Afghanistan, Dec. 29. The mission was a combined effort between U.S. Army Soldiers and their ANA counterparts to bring blankets, cooking stoves, food items, shoes and winter jackets to local citizens. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Andrew A. Reagan, 304th Public Affairs Detachment)

 

    

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