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Goal USA: Humanitarian Relief

Afghan refugee family.

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2002

Goal, an Irish humanitarian relief agency with offices in New York, is undertaking a major relief program in and around the Northern Afghan city of Mazar I Sharif. Like Concern’s personnel, Goal workers were evacuated from Afghanistan due to heightened insecurity following the September 11 attacks. Again like Concern, they refused to leave the region and set up teams in neighboring Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan, planning a huge humanitarian relief operation in preparation for when the security situation would allow a return. After several frustrating months, they were allowed back in to Afghanistan in early December and set up operation in Mazar I Sharif, a former Taliban stronghold. “The suffering of the ordinary people of the area was devastating,” said Ian Burke, a Goal worker from Co. Kildare. “Several decades of war and insecurity, three years of drought and five years of cruel Taliban role have reduced most people in Afghanistan to the very limits of endurance.” On their return to Afghanistan, Ian and the other Goal personnel, which includes several Irish Americans, began implementing a major humanitarian relief program in the provinces of Samangan and Jawz Jan around Mazar I Sharif bringing humanitarian aid to 620,000 people. ♦

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