01 Jan 2007

PR# 2007-002

PRT Farah assists burn victim

FARAH, Afghanistan – Two ISAF military personnel assigned to the Farah Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) recently helped bring a young Afghan child to the United States for treatment to burns he sustained during a house fire.

The fire left six-year-old Mahsoom’s neck and jaw damaged, impairing his ability to chew or speak well. After meeting the boy at the PRT’s aid centre, U.S. Navy Doctor Lt. Afshin Afarin and U.S. Army Capt. Jay Berendzen coordinated Mahsoom’s treatment in the United States. 

Dr. Peter Grossman, from the Grossman Burn Centre, Sherman Oaks Hospital near Los Angeles, Calif., is expected to perform the boy’s surgery. Working with several charitable organizations, Lieutenant Afarin and Captain Berendzen found a host family to support Mahsoom during his six-to-nine month stay in the United States. They also coordinated the funding to support his treatment and helped the boy’s family obtain the required legal documents and medical forms.

In addition, the service members coordinated the trip through the Afghan system, obtaining the required letter of permission from Mahsoom’s father and the village Shura. Unable to read or write, Mahsoom’s father signed his name using his thumbprint. “It is in God’s hands,” he said. “This operation will be good for his life. Everybody is going to fall in love with him.” Mahsoom arrived in the United States just before the new year.

Lieutenant Afarin said that despite the hurdles they encountered, he never doubted that things would work out in the end. “There is so much that doesn’t go right in this country. This gives us the opportunity to say some things do go well, and there are caring people out there,” he said.

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