Friday, July 25, 2008

Surplus Ammo...and Some Pictures, But Not of Ammo

Word on the street is that the bad guys have had trouble expending their explosives and ammo this summer. Gee, in only a couple months the high mountain passes will start getting difficult. By late fall many passes will be closed with snow. What to do? Can't have all this excess capability lying about.

So, the other word is that the bad guys may step up attacks just to get rid of inventory before winter sets in. Storing all that stuff is a bugger during the winter. Unfortunately for them, the bad guys find it difficult to operate during the winter. Not so the US forces and Afghan National Army. Since we can still get least better than the bad guys...we will be rooting out all their caches. Not a pleasant thought for the bad guys. Explosives and ammo do cost money and the bad guy budget is limited in spite of record opium production.

I'm just worried that all this might affect my picture-taking. Bloody inconsiderate of the bad guys to threaten death and mayhem when I'm trying to show everyone outside Afghanistan that things aren't as bad as portrayed by the least not in Kabul. With that in mind, I'm just putting up some people pictures today. Enjoy.

These three people have one thing in common (apart from being Afghans).
They all have full shopping bags, having completed their visit to the local vendors.

Two school girls going home on the last day of school.
They don't appear happy of that fact.

One of the guys I work with surrounded by some of our local friends.
The girl's older brother on the left was seriously injured by a landmine three years ago.
He lost his left eye, about half his teeth and his right arm just below the elbow.

The market opens.

Women waiting for a taxi, workmen resting and an old man on a bicycle.
Just ordinary people going about their business.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some Soldier Humor

This one is going around the email circuit here in Afghanistan. I don't know who created this, but it shows that even in a war zone our guys have a sense of humor. Warped perhaps, but a sense of humor.

Terrorists sink to new low!

Roadside bombs, suicide bombers, bombs strapped to women....

But this? This is just wrong!!

The Soldier is reaching for a bottle of beer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some Country Views

Well, it's not my town, but I'm here for the next year or so. I got out of Kabul and into the countryside the other day. Everything here was taken on Saturday, 19 July. This is a land of contrasts both in her people and the landscape. The Kabul Valley is Afghanistan's breadbasket. Prior to the Soviet invasion Afghanistan was self-sufficient in food largely due to the excellent soil and abundant water in the Kabul Valley. And yet even in Kabul Province, you see wildly contrasting topography.

This is probably typical of how most people envision Afghanistan.
And there is much like this.
This in the northernwestern part of Kabul Province.
The mountains jut out of the level plain and form a bowl around the valley.

Looking back the other direction from the previous picture you see the mountains to the southeast. The agricultural basin in the valley below and nestled on the southern slopes provide a sharp contrast to the arid plain above.

More of the rugged mountains ringing the Kabul Valley.

Desert road through barren landscape.

This picture shows two things, the bed for the new road taking shape and a sense of scale.
You can see for miles and the distances can be deceptive.

A woman tends the family flock.

Villagers getting organized for the day's work. They were repairing the mud walls on this day and improving the irrigation ditches. Note the trees in the background. We are no longer in the desert.

A martyr's grave near the village.
Martyr's graves are distinguished with green or red flags.
This is a martyr who died during the Soviet occupation.

Fields of green. Note the fortress-like buildings in the background. Some villages in these remote areas are completely walled. It has always been dangerous living in the remote areas of Afghanistan.

Another farm. Poplar trees like these lining the field are very common.