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Defiant School Girls To Taliban: “You Can Spray Us [With Acid] A Thousand Times; We Will Not Stop Going To School”

Students Who Were Injured In A Recent Acid Attack In Southern Afghanistan Are Now “The Faces Of Defiance”

 Watch Last Nights NBC News Story

ANN CURRY: In depth now, a powerful story of courage and a reminder of what is at stake in the war in Afghanistan, a war in which Islamic militants attack young girls whose only offense is going to school. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports now from Kandahar.

JIM MACEDA: Thirteen-year-old Zahara always looked forward to school, to science class and athletics, until one morning last month, walking to the Mirwais Meena Girls’ School in Kandahar with her older cousin Chamsey. Here, just outside the school, her life changed.

ZAHARA: (Through translator) It was Wednesday. We were coming home from school when men on motorbikes drove by and threw something on our face.

MACEDA: Zahara thought it was water, just a prank, until it started to sting.

ZAHARA: (Through translator) My skin became green, then white and I knew something was really wrong.

MACEDA: Her cousin Chamsey screamed and passed out. She and five other girls were hospitalized with burns, all victims of a brutal acid attack by militants. In the eyes of the Taliban, girls are unholy if they go to school.

Colonel MIKE MALLIN: It’s an event that really shook this place up, to be quite frank.

MACEDA: For Colonel Mike Mallin, a former New York cop now training Afghan police here, it was an atrocity.

Col. MALLIN: To see this happen to children just trying to go to school and get an education, better themselves and be part of the future success of this country.

MACEDA: There have been hundreds of school-related attacks in Afghanistan over the past year alone, but nothing like this. Kandahar police say they’ve arrested four suspects, but refused to allow us to see them.

Who does she think did this?

ZAHARA: (Through translator) The enemy did it.

MACEDA: Most of these kids were back in class after four or five days, but their teachers say the mood has changed. There’s still a strong desire to learn, of course, but now that’s mixed with a deep-seated fear.

MACEDA: ‘We’re all afraid,’ said principal Mahmoud Qaderi, ‘but we don’t care. We’ll continue to teach and learn here, and that will defeat the enemy.’ Zahara admits she’s lost the joy to study, but not her dreams.

ZAHARA: (Through translator) I want to be a doctor someday and give something to my country and its children.

MACEDA: Her cousin Chamsey was left partially blind by her acid burns, but her sister had this message for the Taliban.

MACEDA: ‘You can spray us a thousand times; we will not stop going to school,’ she swore, in tears. Two cousins, both victims of terror, and now the faces of defiance. Jim Maceda, NBC News.

(NBC’s “Nightly News,” 12/22/08)

To all of our family and friends back in the States, Canada, Australia, the U.K., France, The Netherlands, and beyond:

“Merry Christmas to all of the wonderful family and friends of the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command – South,” from the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen deployed in southern Afghanistan.

Thank you for all of your love, encouragement, and support of  Operation Enduring Freedom.

Confiscated Drugs Go ‘Up in Smoke’

Story by Lt. Col. Bruno Plourde, RC(S) Liaison Officer to RPAC-South

Photos by Maj. Roy Hunter, Executive Officer, RPAC-South

 

Drug Burning

FOB Walton  Recently Afghan national law enforcement agencies destroyed seized narcotics here, at the Regional Police Headquarters of the Afghan National Police.  Present to watch the seized narcotics go ‘up in smoke’ were the Provincial Governor, Rahmatullah Raufi, the Regional chief of police, Brig. Gen. Ghulam Ali Wahdat, local Afghan commanders and Afghan government officials, members of the Regional Police Advisory Command- South led by Col. John Cuddy, the Commander, to witness more that 40 tons of narcotics and transformation products being destroyed.

 

The drugs and related products destroyed were the result of the collaborative work of the Afghan National Police, the Counter-Narcotic Ministry, the National Development Strategy (NDS), and Afghan Border Police during the last few years.  All illegal drugs (heroin, opium, hashish) and other chemicals were seized during police operations in the different districts of Kandahar Province.

 

This event highlights the success, dedication, and the enduring and collaborative efforts of Afghan Government law enforcement officials in the Kandahar province in their struggle to provide their citizens a drug free, more secure, and stable homeland. 

 

Official breakdown of the load:  140 kg – Heroin; 860 kg – Opium; 9 483 kg – Hashish; 8 171 L – Acid; 22 510 kg – Various chemical products; Total: 41, 174 kg

ANP Give Back to Local Kandahar City School

Story and Photos By Maj. Roy Hunter, Executive Officer, RPAC-South

Kandahar City  Recently, the Deputy Commander of 404 Maiwand Zone, Afghan National Police (ANP), Brig. Gen. Mirwaise Noorzai, orchestrated a Humanitarian Aid (HA) distribution at a local Kandahar City school.  He was joined by the commander of the region’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Brig. Gen. Yousef Taryaedi, and the commander of the Police Sub-Station in Kandahar City, Precinct 1, Lt. Col. Gulab Shah. 

The school is used by about 200 students during the morning and about 300 students in the afternoon from the local community for ages five through 16.  It took seven ANP Light Terrain Vehicle (LTV) pick-up trucks to carry all the HA supplies to the school, their flat beds loaded to overflowing with the blanket-wrapped packages and boxes of clothing. 

 

Items distributed by the local Afghan Uniformed Police along with members from the Regional Police Headquarters included staples such as food, prayer rugs, and blankets as well as items collected by family and friends of U.S. service members at the Regional Police Advisory Command – South (RPAC-S), such as school backpacks and other school related supplies, small toys, and personal hygiene items. 

 

“This was truly an Afghan police-run event with a small handful of RPAC-S HQ Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors where there to assist with the security and to enjoy the warm greetings of the Afghan children and parents,” Col. John Cuddy, the RPAC-S Commander said after the HA drop was completed.”   

The latest edition of the ARSIC-South The Main Effort is available.  Please click here to view it: the-main-effort-oct-dec-20082

EasyRider Group Photo

Camp at Forward Operating Base Dedicated to Fallen Soldier

Story and Photos by 1st Lt. Amy Bonanno, PAO, ARSIC-South

 

 Camp Dimond Dedication Ceremony

Lashkar Gah— Formerly known as Camp Falcon, the American compound here at the British base, was recently renamed in honor of a fallen comrade.  An improvised explosive device (IED) took the life of Cpl. Scott Dimond, on October 13, 2008, in honor of his life the Camp here was recently dedicated to honor his memory. 

 

At the dedication ceremony recently, Lt. Col. Joe Martini, the Helmand Provincial Lead Mentor, said, “Cpl. Scott G. Dimond was the consummate professional.  Cpl. Dimond is no longer with us, but his sacrifice here in Afghanistan will never be forgotten.  This marble tablet serves as a reminder of Scott and his dedication to the mission to bring peace and security to the people of Afghanistan.  I hereby rename Camp Falcon, Camp Dimond.” 

 

Corporal Scott G. Dimond, 39, of Franklin, New Hampshire was killed in action while the convoy he was traveling in came under attack in Kandahar City, Afghanistan.  Cpl. Dimond was assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd of the 172nd Mountain Infantry Regiment of the New Hampshire Army Guard. 

Cpl. Dimond was a Police Mentor Team (PMT) member of ‘Easy Rider,’ helping to mentor the Afghan Border Police.   After graduating from Franklin High School, he served on the Franklin Police force for 18 years as an Officer and a Sergeant.   After retiring from the police force in 2006, he joined the Army National Guard. 

 

Cpl. Dimond outdid other Guardsmen during rigorous training prior to mobilizing to southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, despite being more than twice the age of many other soldiers.  Cpl. Dimond began taking Pre-Med courses prior to leaving for Afghanistan in the hopes he could earn a nursing degree and work alongside his mother caring for aged and injured veterans.

 

Cpl. Dimond will be remembered for being a dedicated father and police officer. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and his four children: Ashlee, Luke, Alexis, and Madison.

 

“Scott, you are missed by all of us, served with honro with us, and will not be forgotten by any of us, “Lt. Col. Martini concluded. 

PRESS RELEASE
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES AFGHANISTAN
Kabul, Afghanistan
Phone: +93 (0) 799 51 2919

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2008
Release Number 20081612-01

IED kills three insurgents in Oruzgan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Three insurgents attempted to plant an IED in Deh Rawod district, Oruzgan province, approximately 200 km southwest of Kabul, along a well traveled road when it detonated, killing two of the insurgents. Local villagers reported an explosion to the ANSF, who discovered the dead and wounded.
Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition forces provided medical attention and transported the wounded insurgent to a nearby Coalition forces medical facility for treatment, but he subsequently died of his injuries.
No ANSF, Coalition forces or civilian casualties were reported.
“The ANSF showed their compassion and professionalism by providing treatment to a wounded enemy,” said Col. Gregory Julian, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesperson.
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United States Forces Afghanistan’s mission, in coordination with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, is to conduct operations to defeat terrorist networks and insurgents by developing effective governance and building the Afghan National Security Force. Effective security throughout the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan facilitates continued regional stability and increases economic development for the people of Afghanistan.

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