On arrival to Afghanistan...

Jalalabad Travel Blog

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This time my idle ramblings are inspired by my recent all expenses paid trip to Afghanistan. Which brings on yet another episode of time traveling adding an additional two and a half hours to my world, but minus an hour for daylight savings. Life on a former Russian base is interesting especially walking through the buildings and the fact that it is not nearly as sprawling as the post in Kuwait. In its simplicity it is marvelously efficient even moreso given the base's slight modern makeover. Seeing tall and majestic pines, the alpine ski lodge-esque USO after leaving the arrival terminal all complimented by snow capped, cloud-ringed mountains and chilly mountain air almost makes one feel like there is no war going on at all. Of course that's until the jets, cargo planes and helicopters roaring down the runway and up-armored vehicles start moving down the main road.

Upon arrival with our new unit I got a tour of the perimeter where you can see the local Afghanis going about there day: Boys going to school by bike or foot, cattle and goats being herded and small children being watched over by their fathers. Randomly placed are signs telling people not to give anything to locals, "Do not feed the locals" in a sense. At the same time our driver the senior-most enlisted Soldier in the unit endorses that which we've read. The RPG attack on the base the week prior as well as a mortar attack. Not to mention the fact that the bazaar where the locals came and sold goods, very cheaply,  was stopped because of the suicide bomber who detonated himself at the gates, coincidentally on the same day as VP Cheney's visit.

So much contrast. Fast forward a few days later and the initial shock of entering an entire new part of the theater wears off and it becomes a small Soviet era base lacking any kind of pinnache; looking at three hundred and sixty degrees of white-maned mountains crowned with fluffy white clouds and a big blue sky never gets old. What a wonderful world indeed, Mr. Armstrong. A year away from friends and family isn't the greatest but my experiences in the past 7 months have helped ease the pain. Til next time.
Eric says:
It's good to hear a report of the war from someone who is actually there, and not from some anonymous news agent. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Good luck in Afghanistan and be safe!
Posted on: May 07, 2007
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photo by: babintroy