Every little bit helps
Written by Nathan Gallahan   
Saturday, 13 March 2010 10:41

FOB Shank | Day 33 – When times are slow, and missions fall through, I always have our 30 Day visitors to fall back on. In many ways I prefer taking your questions and directly answering them because I know that’s exactly what you all want to hear and learn about versus what I’m seeing and bringing to you. I love that aspect of this project.

So our plans have fallen through today leaving me with another opportunity to address your questions and ideas I remember one person asking on the forums about how everyday people can help Afghanistan. I had addressed this is a previous blog, but I want to touch on the subject again because I learned one 30 Days participant is really helping, more on him later.

ISAF isn’t the only organization in Afghanistan.

There are a ton of international aid organizations and non-governmental organizations here helping. If you search the internet for “Afghanistan NGOs” you can find a bunch of them. I know one of the keys to success in this country is “unity of effort” I’ve heard throughout our 30Days, when people talk of NGOs, this unity and cooperation is critical to success here. I believe there are elements of cooperation, but overall it needs some work and there are people out there working on it.

Another way is through programs like Alan Krutchkoff’s. He’s one of our most active members and runs a program called Adopt a Soldier Platoon. The name correctly implying whole units of soldiers are adopted, but the program also collects and organizes donations for the Afghan people. When I talked with him one day over Facebook, one of his proudest projects was the donation of 60 cartons of school supplies, clothing and toys for Afghan children. They sent all of these supplies to the U.S. Marines. I hope, for counter insurgencies sake, the Marines gave the supplies to the Afghan National Army or Police for distribution, because given them the opportunity to distribute them to the people would go a long way towards building positive relationships.

Also, I think one of the biggest ways of helping Afghanistan is to simply understand what’s happening here. The key to learning is more than watching one news channel, but watching and reading a bunch of different sources. Don’t follow our 30 Days project and feel it’s enough. While Ken and I are doing our best to cover as much as we can, we’re only covering a very small part of the story. Read books, read history and watch documentaries. Then, take that education and understanding and openly discuss Afgha nistan amongst your communities, whether you agree with the mission or not. All sides are not only appreciated, but necessary to all of our free countries.

I love the fact many people don’t agree with the mission here, its freedom. We may hold views and opinions that differ from one another, but as long as they’re founded in intelligence and maturity and not in shallow-mindedness and stupidity, they’re welcome at the table of open discussion.

What ISAF and the Afghan government is doing may not be absolutely perfect, but I believe they are doing the best they can while dealing with all the complexities or world politics, military culture, local history and culture. Support the cause or not, educated debate is healthy and necessary for all of us.

Now that 30 Days is starting to cool down and we have only two more posts after this, I hope this project has opened your eyes a little bit about Afghanistan and has given you a few more tools and ideas for you to use to formulate your own educated opinions on the counter insurgency here.

If, after further researching and learning, Afghanistan touches your heart as much as it has mine and you decide to help, please keep the NGOs and programs like Alan’s in mind, because every little bit helps.

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Comments (3)add comment

Dylan Matheson said:

Adopt a Soldier Platoon
All I have to say Alan is wow, I visited the website and I'm amazed at the projects you've done and are still doing, I haven't read them all yet but I plan on it. I especially enjoyed reading about one of your projects entitled "Operation K-9". I think that was pretty awesome how you adpoted dog handler teams and their dogs aswell sending over dog treats and stuff. One question though, How'd you get Adopt a Soldier Platoon going? I know it says it on your website and it says "click here to read about the beginings" and I did, but my Laptop is difficult at times and doesn't allow me to open things. Keep up the great work though.
March 14, 2010
Votes: +0

dennis said:

Slow down
Thanks for all the hard work Nathan.Will miss this site when done. But will be happy for you and the team to be home. I have a grandson who should be home by the end of the mouth from Iraq. And thanks for the tip on Adoptasoldierplatoon.
March 13, 2010
Votes: +0

Alan Krutchkoff said:

Nate, wow! I go to your blog and there we are! Thanks. Never expected to end up on your Blog! LOL. Yes we are very proud to support the Afghan people. We are also now collecting sneakers and running shoes for a unit that gives them out to the children outside Bagram. And Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram also takes care of the kids and we take care of them. For me personally it's a dream come true since I spent quite a bit of time in AFG and became attached to the country immediately. Stay safe and thanks for mentioning our humble organization. We are one of many and proud of it! alan
March 13, 2010
Votes: +2

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