Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29 0630

Not your run of the mill elevated stuctures. All these roadways have elaborate detail, colored concrete, single pedestal support and feature uplighting that Walt Disney's architects could only have dreamed of.

April 28 2320

Dubai mall at fountain level with Burj podium and downtown in background.

April 28 2310

Image of the address and Dubai mall taken from the podium of the Burj Khalifa. The Burj complex built for an estimated $20 billion houses what is currently the worlds largest mall. Thousands sitting outside and dining tonight when this was taken around midnight.

April 28 2230

Night time view from the 129th floor of the Burj Khalifa tower. This view faces west over the Dubai mall (left), lake and fountains,  and the Dubai tower "The Address" which at 63 floors is dwarfed by the Burj.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 27 2230

Driver seat of MRAP.

April 27 2210

Another piece of equipment being shipped downrange. Hard to imagine the cost to ship a 10k capacity fork lift to theatre. These are used for material movement in one of 4 hubs managed by ISI. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 25 2020

Painting of a tranqil home setting in Afghanistsan. For sale at bazaar.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 24 1920

Eye in the sky at rest. Helium filled balloon with high resolution camera keeps and eye on things when we cannot. They are at work night and day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 23 1940

Image of the former Soviet control tower at Bagram. It no longer serves as a flight control tower, it's replacement was built by American forces within the last five years. Still, its a pretty cool structure.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 21 2200

Bagram Bazaar shop.

April 21 2130

Vendor at Bagram Bazaar

April 21 2130

April 21 2010

Bombed out ruins of mud hut structures next to the base. Largely abandoned, these are occasionally home to nomads and their herds. The areas around the base perimeter were mined by the Soviets  during their ten year occupation roughly 1980-1990.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 19 2130

Door of perception? In a way. This wall separates German and US compounds by not only nationality but also methods, principles, and ideals. The differences are stark in many ways. In an amusing show of gamesmanship, the Germans place a sign on the wall. As you entered the US side it said, in large letters,  "DISTRICT 9" referring to the movie of the same name where space aliens are interned in a South African work camp. All in fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17 0620

These two are being cared for by the ANA soldiers on the Afghan portion of base. IMHO things are generally rough and appear uncared for (by western standards) where the locals are left to their own. Most soldiers are simple villagers , unaccustomed to, and generally it seems, not interested in adopting western ways..

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16 1810

Afghan locals making deliveries on base.

April 15 0615

Plaque at Fob Fenty commemorating the victims of 9/11. The mountainous Tora Bora region near Jalalabad is where Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda planned attacks on the United States. There appears to be only splinters left of that organization now. The Taliban and Haqqani network are still active and they are the predominate threat to peace in the region.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 14 2000

Dutch camp in the north. Today may well have marked the beginning of the Spring Offensive by the Taliban. Accepting responsibility for multiple coordinated attacks, the group proves that they are still capable of attacking highly guarded diplomatic targets within the city. Civilian and diplomatic facilities were targeted by dozens armed with rpgs, automatice weapons and suicide vested attackers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 10 0600

On the Arabian gulf with the Burj Al Arab in the background. Access for guests only to this famous hotel where Tiger Woods was once paid $1M to drive golf balls off the helipad. $1K- 27K per night it is the 2nd tallest hotel in the world. Described as the worlds only 7 star hotel. Water about 80 today clear skies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 9 0620

Sightseeing by International MaxxPro.
Some 13,000 of these type vehicles at a cost of over $30B. There is little use for them after this war and many will be idled or scrapped.
76 today at Bagram Airfield, 90 at Kandahar.

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 8 2010

Power plant and overhead installation. At grade is a cable tray which houses the 4160v primary conductors to the pole risers and downstream loads. 14 individual generators housed in twenty foot long ISO containers are synchronized connected to switchgear feeding individual circuits. The plant has a 10 megawatt output and was constructed in 4 months.

April 9 1940

Overhead power installation on base.

Friday, April 6, 2012

April 6 1830

Typical transformer installation done by ISI. This provides buildings and camps with shore power and is a step towards removing one of the many generators providing spot generation on base. The installation of power plant with overhead and underground power supplies removes the burden and cost of servicing and fueling hundreds of generators. Hate to guess how many generators the US taxpayers have bought, 20,000 would not be unrealistic (at 50k-500k each before installation). It is worth noting that electrical service outside of NATO bases would be very unusual. What little there is, was probably installed or repaired by US funded contracts. This includes the much maligned Kabul power plant project. Two versions of that story here:


     Construction (and anything else) in a war enviornment is expensive. What makes things more challenging is the requirement that contractors use Afghan labor and contractors. Some are exceptional, others are poorly trained, inept, and corrupt.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 3 2200

This is Rafi. He is the rug seller I visit when I am up north. Rafi purchases the rugs from the families that make them. The rugs are generally made by the women and take months to weave. Mazir I Sharif is where some of the most beautiful and highest quality wool rugs are created. Patterns differ from tribes and families.