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Yakima Doctor Heading to Afghanistan to Help Country’s Medical System

YAKIMA–It all started back in the mid-2000’s when Paul Garcia was serving as a US commander of special forces over in Afghanistan.

That’s when he began working with businessman Obaid Zahid.

“We worked together on some large construction projects and logistics projects for the coalition,” Garcia said.

Garcia also lived with Zahid eventually developing a brother like relationship.

“Obaid’s part of my family, he’s my younger brother.”

The two would lose touch after Garcia left but when Kabul was taken over by the Taliban in August of 2021, Paul made sure to check in on his friend.

“He was talking to me day and night, 24/7, he was talking to me always,” Zahid said.

Garcia along with lawmakers and military contacts embarked on an 11-day journey to get Zahid and his family out of Kabul.

Eventually escaping to London where the now live.

But their work in Afghanistan is not done… there are many still suffering from brutal conditions with food, water and proper medical care hard to come by.

“We’re not stopping, we’re dogged, we’re going to continue forward,” Garcia said.

But now they are looking to do even more.

Garcia reached out to a local Yakima doctor with the same last name to be able to do so and that’s when the ball started rolling on helping Afghanistan with their medical system.

“I said this is something we need to get behind, Paul said Well would you be open to a coalition between Shoulder to Shoulder and Opportunity for Washington and I said absolutely,” said Dr. Raul Garcia.

He hopes to make a difference not only with improving people’s overall health.

But to form a relationship with the local government.

“Hopefully with a little change make a big impact for the future in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan,” Garcia said.

Garcia will be heading to Afghanistan within the next month.

He’s also encouraging people to donate to organizations like Operation Shoulder to Shoulder and Opportunity for Washington that helps people still in Afghanistan get things like food, water and supplies they need.

Source: KIMA TV