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PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Although the children sat patiently in their seats, the looks of anticipation were written all over their wide-eyed faces as they eagerly watched security forces from three nations hand out colorful backpacks, June 8.
Members of the Afghan National Police, U.S. Army 4th Platoon, Company D, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, and Macedonian Ranger Platoon distributed the backpacks and other school supplies to children at the Sar Hawza village school.
“This is the way that we can do something for this country. If the kids go to school and learn, after a few years they will carry laptop computers and not weapons,” said Macedonian Army 1st Lt. Vlatko Karanfilov from Skopje, Macedonia, the information operations officer for the Macedonian Ranger Platoon.
The team of Macedonian and D Company Soldiers helped hand out 40 boxes of school supplies including backpacks, notebooks, pens, pencils and folders.
“It made the children happy, and I hope they can come again and bring more next time,” said Tajuddin Samad Samar, a Sar Hawza school official.
Samar said that he is very grateful for the supplies and that he thinks they will help the children in their studies.
The supplies came from D Company’s headquarters at Forward Operating Base Rushmore, and they worked with the Afghan National Police and school officials to coordinate the distribution.
Donating school supplies to the students in Sar Hawza shows Coalition Forces are here to help, but ultimately shows the lasting role the Afghan National Security Forces, like the ANP, must play in developing the country, said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Dan Silver from Dover, N.H., the platoon leader for 4th Platoon, D Company.
“Our mission was completed successfully today because we found out a lot about students, teachers and classrooms,” said Karanfilov.
When the distribution was complete, the Soldiers sat down with school officials and village elders to find out how they could help the children in the future. The elders asked them for more supplies for the girls’ school in the village, which the Soldiers plan to bring on their next trip.
“I have supplies here, so that will definitely happen,” said Karanfilov.
Not only was the mission a success for the children, but it was also a meaningful experience for the Soldiers involved.
“I like hanging out with the little kids,” said U.S. Army Spc. David Carrier, an infantryman from Claremont, N.H., with D Company. “Doing missions like these is a nice break from the daily combat operations, and it was one of the best memories I will take away from Afghanistan.”
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