American Soldiers Do Good Work!
Hunting the Taliban, Finding Sick Children By the Score
By C.J. Chivers
The Afghan boy crouched near a wall in this remote village. His pupils were coated by an opaque yellow sheath.
Sergeant Nick Graham, a U.S. Army medic, approached. The villagers crowded around. They said the boy's name was Hayatullah. He was 10 years old and had developed an eye disease six years ago. "Can you help him?" a man asked.Graham examined the boy. He was blind. There was nothing the medic could do.
A second man appeared pushing a wheelbarrow that held a hunched child with purplish lips and twisted feet. He had the growth and circulatory problems associated with severe congenital heart disease. Graham listened to his heart. Without surgery, he said, this stunted boy would probably die.
A third man turned the corner from an alley, leading a girl, Baratbibi, by the arm. She was 7 years old. She turned her ruined eyes toward the afternoon sun without blinking. Her pupils were more heavily coated than Hayatullah's. Graham sighed.We could use an entire hospital here," he said.
The afflictions in Karawaddin were of a type. Throughout early December a company of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division had patrolled throughout the Nawa district of Ghazni Province, an isolated region near Pakistan where the Taliban's influence remains strong and the Afghan government's presence is almost nonexistent.
Each patrol was a foray into villages regarded as Taliban sanctuaries. Each began with tension and the possibility of violence. But the Taliban did not confront the heavily-armed paratroopers, and within minutes the mood of the patrols shifted.
A catalogue of pediatric suffering quickly formed into queues: children with grotesque burns and skin infections, distended scrapes and scorpion and spider bites, bleeding ears, dimmed eyes or heavy, rolling coughs. Some were bandaged in dirty rags. Others were brought forward in wheelbarrows because they lacked the strength to walk.
In one village, Zarinkhel, the villagers begged Captain Christopher DeMure, the commander of B Company of 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry, for vaccines. Seven children had died of measles in the last three days, they said, including two the morning that the patrol had arrived.
Afghanistan remains hobbled by underdevelopment, poverty and illiteracy, a legacy of decades of war. The population's health problems are acute. But the problems in areas like these villages, the residents said, have been aggravated by the continuing insurgency and the harsh edicts of Taliban rule.
The Nawa district, largely out of the Afghan government or the American military's reach, lies on a transit route for insurgents who travel between Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. The Taliban has operated freely here since losing control of Kabul, the Afghan capital, late in 2001.
To limit the government's influence and prevent it from achieving even its modest development goals, the villagers and the Afghan and American authorities said, the insurgents have sacked schools, threatened teachers and students, scared off private contractors and sharply restricted medical care.
"The Taliban has made it abundantly clear that no outside doctors, no outside medical help, can work in this district," DeMure said.
I posted this article for all the lousy Leftist naysayers that call our soldiers murderers and baby-killers. No, the Afghans didn't offer smiles and hold out flowers for our troops when they came; they held out their sick kids because they wanted our help--and KNEW that we would.
We are their only hope for a decent life against the Taliban. Ask THESE people if they 'want us there' or not. Ask Jon Carry if these brave men and women, who are rescuing these people and trying to help these kids, if they are 'stuck' there! Ask the Democrats if 'everyone' hates us--it sure doesn't look like it to me!