This is the second installment of series that will chronicle an ongoing aid mission in Afghanistan.
Distributing Aid in Rural Areas
As we began to document this amazing journey in part 1 of this series, Johannes Müller, Michael Söhner (our foreign correspondent on the ground) and Serkan Eren arrived in Kabul. Currently on the ground in Afghanistan, they are already bringing food supplies and medicines to rural areas.We will cover their progress and story in real time as we receive updates.
In our last post we mentioned that this mission is unique, for one reason, in that it is undertaken without sponsorship or support by any large organization or government. Further, that it is a story of what can be done by three determined individuals and can provide insight into what is really happening in the crisis-torn region… since then, in an update from Michael we received the following details:
“The money for the project comes from STELP and little from Jo and myself that we raised. Important side note: any travel related costs are being paid by ea. one out of their own pockets.”
So far the trip seems to confirm the reports from 60 minutes that aired, by coincidence on Sunday, December 13, literally, while the “mission of 3” was already underway. The report mentioned the urgent necessity for immediate aid and how working with the Taliban was essential to being able to help the innocent people who are in need on the ground, with starvation imminent.
The report also mentioned the U.N., who were featured in the bulk of the footage, but pointed out that, other than the current emergency U.N. mission, which is tiny compared with the massive size of the already growing crisis, there are virtually no large organizations in place, after the exodus in the fall, to meet the challenges that face the people of the region.
For this, and many other important reasons, the three, led by Serkan Eren, founder and face of aid organization STELP – supporter on site and joined by Johannes Müller and Michael Söhner have taken it upon themselves, as individuals to travel to this crisis area to help in any way possible with aid.
Brining food and medicine to those hardest hit by the economic realities that came directly after the withdrawal of US and international forces and aid organizations.
Their aim is also to raise awareness of the challenges facing the people of Afghanistan, who are, unfortunately hardest hit by the shifting political situation that they had no part in.
Since most large humanitarian programs that had provided so relief before the Taliban took control, there is a dire need to fill the void. These three brave individuals decided, just like that, to take it upon themselves, to travel, with a single local guide and escort, to try and help.
Afghanistan Dairy by Michael Söhner: Day 2
You may find there is something wrong. Fact is the Talibs are running the Afghan government. The monumental corruption has drastically been reduced, compared to the previous governments since the invasion of NATO.
Most all aid organizations left the Afghanistan (FYI 75% of the Afghan annual government budget came for international aid organizations)The drought has been going on for 2 years. The economy collapsed for many reasons, one being the Northern Alliances Forces and most all Aid organizations having left the country, and they left it in turmoil.
We are working together with the Talib to distribute food an medicine. Why would we not?
Today we distributed food for 80 families, 5-15 family members ea. family. Many of the families has no father or in some cases the family’s parents both were dead – we are told most dead parents were killed, either by the Norther Alliances, or in most cases, it seems, by the American military. Some deaths were a result of the government’s forces playing killing games with their own people.
From Facebook post just before the journey began:
I am leaving for Afghanistan …Shortly after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, STELP – supporter on site were able to work with #LeaveNoOneBehind (#luftbrückekabul) to help get particularly vulnerable people out of the country. For some, they succeeded; for many, they did not.
And despite the diminishing media coverage, the situation on the ground has not stabilized or improved for some populations. In particular, the suspension of most international aid projects after the Taliban came to power is hitting thousands of widows and orphans outside the significant cities particularly hard.
These people are suffering from an acute famine that had already gripped the country before the Taliban took power and which has been exacerbated by last year’s drought.According to Germany’s State Department, the “security situation has deteriorated drastically.” Nationals of most countries are being urged to leave the country. There are travel warnings to Afghanistan.
Most all embassies in Kabul are closed. Consular support on the ground is currently not possible.-> Nevertheless, looking away is not an option!I am well aware of the danger of my most challenging aid mission to date. That is why I am accompanied by Serkan Eren, founder and face of aid organization STELP – supporter on site, and the experienced conflict photographer Johannes Müller.
He has documented the people on the ground in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Bosnia, and Lebanon for ten years. On-site, a professional fixer, and driver will help travel through the country as safe as possible.
If you would like to support this mission, we would be happy to receive financial support.My PayPal: email@example.com or mail check to Michael Soehner, 12531 Wagner Street, Los Angeles, CA 90066
STELP e.V.Verwendungszweck: HILFE FÜR AFGHANISTANIBAN: DE 32 4306 0967 7001801100BIC: GENODEM1GLS PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org