Monday, January 30, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
IED design, using copper formed in a concave shape to enclose the explosive, turns the copper into a molten material capable of burning through 8" of steel. Unbelievably destructive. Soldiers in the Iraq war struggled to protect themselves from these deadly charges, often strapping whatever they could find to the bottom of their Humvee. From garbage can lids to doors from destroyed hummers they used what was available. The loss of life and limb from this learning curve was devastating. A deadly game of cat and mouse, no sooner did we identify and take measures against one type of attack, another was quickly devised. As one general said "show me a ten foot wall and I'll show you an eleven foot ladder". Highway One is littered with patches from the IED, scores of good guy individuals design and install "culvert denial" systems to keep the easily placed IED out. All the while, drone craft do their part to watch the highways for insurgents placing IEDs. This is a full time job for both sides.
In other middle east news, radical Muslims in Iraq continue their favorite past time, killing other Muslims. 28 killed today in a funeral procession suicide bombing, 17 yesterday, 53 on January 14, for a total of over 200 since the first of the year. Hard to believe they were not shooting at the US forces as we were leaving last month. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth knowing that the US spent a trillion dollars to stabilize that country(?) and in record time the meltdown has begun.
In slightly different news, Syrian President (?) Assad continues his slaughter of citizens there. Stepped up attacks on citizens by pro-regime forces are now using mortars to destroy buildings in neighborhoods. A representative for Assad was quoted as saying that indiscriminate sniper fire and kidnappings were not sending a strong enough message. Arab monitors have left to figure out what to do. Any takers for this one, it's coming.
Shindand is set to become the center of a Afghan flight training facility. Believe it or not folks, the US is on it's way to creating an Afghan Air Force. Just try for a minute to imagine how much that will cost. The illiteracy rate in the Afghan army is 90 percent and those are the best of the best we could find. Now, the US has found a few capable of flying helicopters and perhaps a few to maintain the helicopters we are providing....... The dollars are stunning but no less then other obstacles we have overcome in this country. And, lets face it, what is it worth for a fighter base near the border of Iran? Practically priceless. Photo courtesy of IBEW member Tim Sullivan.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Outside the wall however is another matter. Today, a car bomb attempting to target a NATO convoy succeeded instead in killing seven civilians including 2 children. I felt the blast from one half mile which shook the building we were in and, left a mushroom cloud two hundred feet in the air. Eight others injured, all Afghan nationals. The Taliban accepted responsibility.
On Wednesday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded bazaar killing 13 and wounding 22. There may have been international troops killed in the bombing however none are confirmed at this time. This is continuing evidence that the Taliban has no regard for the Afghan populace, and, should serve to isolate Taliban from the citizenry. I am not convinced that it does, somehow, it seems that the ideals that the Taliban promote including sharia law, appeal to a segment of the male dominated population. In other words, in a country where women are often seen as property, what is to be gained by the international community promoting women's freedom and independence? Perhaps little for the average man. He may have several wives and why give them any ideas. Compare the personal freedoms for women in Saudi Arabia and those folks are 100 years ahead of the Afghans.
We are planting thousands of seeds here, if only there was something to build upon. Sadly most of what these poor people had, has been bombed out of them by the Soviets, the Taliban, and now Pakistan's support of the Taliban. Hope is what we provide.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
In other Mideast news, Syria continues to murder it's citizens by the dozens if not hundreds at a time Arab monitors are dumbfounded at this new development and not sure what to do besides observe. In a separate development, an official speaking anonamously says that Iran appears to be providing weapons to Syria in an effort to assist the crackdown.
In Iran, another nuklear scientist is blown to bits, this, the fourth kill in five attempts. Clearly a high risk position. (sorry for the scientist and their family, they are pawns,). How does not the Ayatollah and Akmadinnerjacket understand that rogue nations with wackjobs for leaders DO NOT GET TO HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Help us out here Hillary, can't you just spell it out for these folks?
Most important in my world, rumors of peace talks with the Taliban persist. This in spite of a recent video showing Marines pissing on dead Taliban. Locally, the Stars and Stripes headline reads " Taliban will not let offensive video derail peace talks". Unbelievable statement from a hard line Islamist movement. At first glance, this sounds like a North Korean style political maneuver. We'll see, I am hopeful, still.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
Nine US soldiers killed in action since January 1 2012 including four young Indiana National Guard killed when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Total US service member killed since the 2001 invasion, 1,750.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
This week sees a return to drone activity into Pakistan, quiet for the last six weeks out of diplomatic respect. OK, enough of that, lets get back to hunting the Taliban hiding in the tribal areas of Pakistan (what WE do well, where they live and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan). 35 evening lows, 55 daytime high at KAF
Sunday, January 8, 2012
A de-mining souvenir at Bagram Airfield, most likely left by the Soviets. In some cases these are found by contractors excavating around the site. This includes my employer and co-workers using backhoes to bury cable. There is considerable structure in place to manage mine fields and their cleanup. Unfortunately, there are surprises out there, it's not a perfect world (quite messy actually).