Help Comes Ten Years Later

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Civilian assistance project helps families who suffered because of airstrikes a decade ago

16 January 2012| Kunduz, Afghanistan

A couple of months after the September 11 attacks, the U.S. military launched air strikes against Taliban fighters who were holed up in several villages in Khan Abad District of Kunduz Province, injuring some nearby civilians.

A USAID-funded civilian assistance project has delivered assistance to all of the affected families. Although the project primarily delivers assistance to families affected by recent incidents, it has a remit to help civilians affected by incidents that date back to 2001.

USAID became aware of the incident several years later and much effort was made to find some of the families who had moved. Project staff worked closely with community elders and government officials to locate many families. As a result, many of the families were encouraged to move back to their villages and rebuild their communities.

Abdul Ahmad, the father of nine, is one of the people who received assistance. He moved away with his family days before the airstrikes, but they returned to their village last year to find that their home had been looted and heavily damaged. Abdul received an assistance kit containing a raft of items for the home such as crockery, carpets, a solar panel, sewing machines, and gas stove, plus basic grocery items such as rice, beans, and oil.

“We became very happy when we saw the goods. The assistance has raised the hope of my family,” Abdul said. “The solar panel and the sewing machines are the most useful items. The women in the family are making use of many of the items. They especially appreciate the sewing machine, which they use to make and mend clothes. This gives us a small income as we mend our neighbors’ clothes,” he added.

“Some peoples in the community became nervous when they saw the solar panel, but they now all think that it is magnificent. It makes enough power to give us lighting at night, which we never had before.”