From the event

17 Mar. 2008

Italian troops bring aid by mule to highland villages

Although Italian Mountain Troops in Afghanistan once dismissed the mules that served the artillery corps for almost a century, they now again are using the animals to carry out missions.

In Surobi, an eastern district of the capital of Kabul, men of the Alpine Parachute Regiment and of the 185th Para have established their base in the area of operations of ISAF’s Regional Command Capital.

Their mission is to provide security and assistance to local authorities and population. Their area is mountainous and harsh, with many villages far from the main axis of communication. People live on agriculture and herding in a land where electric power, roads and water are luxury items. Many children do not go to school for the nearest one is still too far, even on a mule.

The commanding officer of the Alpine Parachute Regiment thought his men could go to all the remote villages in the area and bring tangible items to them on mules, like in the old days.

Providing food, blankets and medical aid to the villagers

With six rented mules (and conductors) loaded with 200 kilograms of rice, medicine, blankets and other items for the villagers, the troops set out on a four-hour, 1,700-meter hike.

The team met with the Malek (the village leader) upon their arrival. They explained their reasoning for the visit and offered the support of their medical team.

The Malek called the elders of the ten families living in the village to manage the cooperation with the Italian soldiers. They helped unload and evenly distribute the goods from the mules.

The medical team treated elderly people and children. They also treated the women, a sign of their trust in ISAF soldiers.

The aid will give a small but significant relief for the villagers, and it will not be the last visit from the Italian Mountain Troops as they have rediscovered an old, strong and reliable companion, the mule.

Contact Information ISAF Public Information Office
Tel: +93 (0)79 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/