Friday, March 30, 2012

March 31 1900

I am not sure what the Germans are thinking about when they ship tracked vehicles here. I think they are mostly useless. I loved this one with the backhoe attachment however, everyone should have one!

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 25 0810

Inside of terminal in North Afghanistan. This one run by the Germans is tidy and is generally right on schedule.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 25 0715

Nazir is our local employee at Mazir I Sharif. His father is Uzbek and his mother is Afghani. Nazir would like to move north to Uzbekistan but is currently unable, there is no immigration policy that would allow him to. His features are very different than most Afghans. Up north I see the occasional Afghan with blue eyes, a result of the Soviet incursion perhaps. We are standing in Mez housing compound, it sure beats tents. One of the few up here with wet hooches ( med bad).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22 0630

Line at gas station, Camp Marmel, Mazir I Sharif.

March 22 0600

Planning a trip? Why not try the Baron @ Kabul. Amenities include 24 hour armed security and CCTV as well as 7 meter high perimeter wall with razor wire and guard towers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13 1920

The view from my deck. No mans land begins at the light poles in the background. The peaks beyond are 12k'. 30 overnight, 18" of fresh snow in Kabul just south of us. 79.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11 1400

Crosswalk at airstrip. Green means go for pedestrians and armed crosswalk guards keep things moving. News this afternoon of  multiple civilian homocides by an US soldier is very unsettling. Multiple incoming on base this late afternoon is quite likely a response to that incident. News travels fast and the Taliban is certain to capitolize on this tragedy. Tomorrow will tell.
    This afternoon I watched an episode of the PBS documentary titled "Women War and Peace".    "Peace Unveiled"  described the effort by Afghan women to be heard in this country torn by decades of war. Both uplifting and depressing, it provides an insight into the politics of this tribal country and shows how perhaps only the women of this country can clean up after years of men making war. Recent developments in peace negotiations with the Taliban suggest that Karzai is willing to negate the womens role in order to work with the Taliban. Women in politics seem to be a deal breaker for the Taliban who would rather fight to the death than compromise Sharia law in this regard. It seems that culturally, many non-taliban countrymen agree. Women seeking to have their voices heard are often seen as a connection to the occupiers. Many women who dare to speak up are found dead particularly in the Kandahar province, birthplace of the Taliban. Pray for these women who risk everything for the future of their family and country.

March 11 0630

Pre-flight for Blackhawk crew. Apache adjacent.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 9 2200

IBEW wireman Pat Pryor with our regular locals. Good guys, they are helpful, upbeat and seem to be dedicated. As a contractor you never really know much about these men, the background check process is out of our hands. It is impossible to know what goes through a mans mind. On base, everyone is watched closely since electrical contractors stock plenty of bomb making materials.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 6 2010

Afghan soldiers loading an Afghan Air Force helicopter. Provided by US taxpayers, this Kazan made Mi-17 is a tried and true Soviet design. With a payload more than three times greater than the Blackhawk and around one third the cost, this provides a significant response to the insurgency. Relatively easy to maintain and know for their resiliency, these also have the advantage of Afgan  trained mechanics being familiar with them. Their predecesor, the Mi24 were donated by the Soviets and used by the Afghan government to fight Mujahideen in the late 70s. Around $17 million each, some of that money is surely finding its way to the Russian mob. No word on whether the Afghans can fly at night; one of the first deliveries crashed here on base not far from the Bhut where I stay. It was disassembled and carted off.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 4 2010

Remnants of one of the vehicles torched last week. This occured outside the gate at FOB Fenty which borders the notious Afghan Hwy 1 ring. There is at least one person out of work as a result of this. One family going hungry.

March 4 1930

My friends at FOB Fenty Jalalabad.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2 0645

Contract rotary. There are hundreds of these all over the country. Molson Air is a Canadian firm that serves many bases. Dangerous rides, these occasionally land outside of the base perimeter where children throw rocks, farmers shoot AK-47 and insurgents launch RPGs adding an element of excitement to an otherwise boring job.

March 2 0635

Local farm just outside the wire. It provides a sense of tranquility seeing a relatively normal life existing fifty feet away. It makes me homesick to watch families sharing time together. This farm looks more like a cooperative with many families and generations working along side one another.

March 2 0610

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1 0600

Jan makes footbread in this modest little bakery. There is a single wood fired oven inside. Jan's Bakery  is situated next to the ANA camp at FOB Fenty.