Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

May I Ask Who is Calling?

May 23, 2009

 

May 2009     Qalat, Afghanistan

Last week we sized up a new contract with a security company by accompanying them for a little night work. The mission involved a convoy of 40 tractor-trailers, carrying shipping containers, new armored vehicles, and loaded fuel tankers on an overnight run to Kandahar and back. Convoys on this route get hit every night with rockets, roadside bombs and machine guns, sometimes in well-organized ambushes. Few of their vehicles are armored, and most have a few holes in them. The military is still stretched too thin to offer air or medical support, so the security companies are on their own to fight through and deliver these high-value targets every time. It is a hugely lucrative contact, but it comes at a steady cost. (more…)

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Multiple Choice

May 2, 2009

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May 2009     Afghanistan

The path to the truth is not a straight line in Afghanistan, whether asking directions,  learning tribal customs, or just trying to gather patient history.  Today I asked one question, got five different answers, and came to an ugly conclusion.  (Names changed, as usual.) (more…)

Badakhshan

April 10, 2009

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April 2009    Northern Afghanistan

Spring Break college-style is somewhere in the blurry past, but I am pretty sure it did not include abstinence from alcohol and other pursuits, or 8 days and 800 miles in an unmarked microvan with two bearded Muslim men.  But parts of this country are amazing once out of the bigger cities, and what an epic trip it has been.   I even logged some miles hitch-hiking the country roads. (more…)

Spring is in the Air…

March 17, 2009

March 2009     Kabul, Afghanistan

Most times a backyard BBQ does not include skull fractures, amputations and calling the boss a “fucking wombat,” but this is Kabul. (more…)

Highs and Lows

March 5, 2009

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March 2009     Afghanistan

I have been out on leave for awhile, so no new photos this month.   I don’t have a story yet either, but I have one from a friend who flies C-130s, the same type plane that I snapped awhile ago at a US base, seen above.  It is worth a re-print here.

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Sir, Your Goat is Here.

January 18, 2009

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January 2009  Kabul, Afghanistan

Fair warning: Vegetarians and PETA-types should probably scurry along and not loiter here.

I had an Afghan moment tonight.  I am teaching a class tomorrow to security contractors about emergency medical procedures for chest trauma.  My employer is a start-up, and we do not have one of the $1500 airway dummies needed for hands-on training, so I asked Shafiq the guard to get me a goat torso from the butcher, with lungs, heart, and hide intact.  I was very specific.  He returned to the house that night and called out to me, “Sir, your goat is here. You come and see if it is right.” (more…)

Hit & Run

January 5, 2009

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January 1st, 2009  – Kabul, Afghanistan

Happy New Year!  It is midnight straight up here in the local year of 1387, and the other guys are out  –  I am all by myself, rocking some beats, manning the phones that rarely ring and securing Fort Infidel. (more…)

Beneath the Veil

November 3, 2008

November 2008

Dubai Airport, 14-hour layover

DXB is a big, bright, ultramodern airport, neatly displaying the new wealth of this city. The people are clean and carefully dressed; a traditional white robe for the men, and all black all the way to the floor for the women, never mind the swampy 120 degree air.  Some of the women had only a narrow slit opening for the eyes, further bound by a black thread down the bridge of the nose holding this envelope tight.  They could be teenagers or grandmothers, there was no telling. (more…)