Afghan National Police and Army Work Together to Save the Day
Story By 1st Lt. Amy Bonanno, PAO for ARSIC-South
Photos by Col. Bill Hix, Commander, ARSIC-South
Ghorwak—The Taliban are so distraught that coalition forces are kicking their butts lately, that they have begun attacking villagers to include women and children, as witnessed recently, in an effort to force Afghans into supporting their campaign against U.S. and coalition forces here.
Villagers and their small, local Afghan National Police (ANP) detachment were under attack and upon learning what was happening, the Afghan National Police and the Governor of Kandahar, Rahmatullah Raufi, requested support for rescue of wounded police and civilians caught in a perilous situation.
In one instance, an Afghan father was severely wounded which caused his two sons- both around the age of 12 or 13- years old- to grab his weapons and ammunition. The two sons fought the Taliban over the night in their father’s honor. The father was evacuated with his sons to Kandahar for medical care and has since recovered enough to be released.
“Two Afghan National Army (ANA) Air Corps Mi-17 helicopters flew into the area to rescue these brave Afghan villagers,” said Col. Bill Hix, Commander for Afghan Regional Security Integration Command- South (ARSIC-S). “Each aircraft had police reinforcements, ammunition and American advisors to assist in the rescue.”
With the other Mi-17 flying cover, each landed and dropped off ammunition and police reinforcements and picked up several wounded and injure police and civilians. After recovering the wounded villagers, the two helicopters flew to another check point about five kilometers away to rescue more wounded and evacuate civilians.
The ANA pilots and crew collected an assortment of wounded, some with gunshot and shrapnel wounds. A little girl, several civilians, and an especially pregnant woman came streaming out of the mud walled compounds, and among forty villagers, were loaded into the aircraft and quickly flown towards safety.
As the helicopters flew to Kandahar, the injured and wounded hung on. The helicopters landed and delivered the injured into the waiting arms of the Coalition hospital staff at Kandahar Air Field. The others were received by the Afghan National Police and taken to relatives in the area. Many of the nine wounded and the especially pregnant woman were sent to Meir Weiss Hospital, the main hospital in Kandahar City. They were treated and eventually released over several days. Regrettably, the one villager with shrapnel wounds eventually succumbed to his wounds.
While their compatriots were receiving medical treatment, the other villagers were taken the Afghan Army Air Corps’ hangers and given food and water. Due to the fighting, they had not eaten in two days. The children, though unhurt but caught in the fighting, also received beanie babies to help comfort them.
“We are very happy that our Afghan Police and Army were able to rescue us today,” a relieved villager said.
The Taliban have spent much of their time this summer fighting these villagers- their fellow Afghans. Despite the harassment by the Taliban, the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army worked together well to save those that matter most- the Afghan people to whom they are sworn to defend.