In Transit

I am composing this post in a MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) tent on Manas Airbase, Kyrgyzstan. I am waiting for my final hop into Afghanistan. Total travel time (to include layovers) from Ft. Carson, CO was a little over 36 hours. During that time I saw a couple of in flight movies and read a good portion of the book "Ghost Wars".

Once we arrived and moved into transient quarters (a big tent on a concrete pad) grabbing a hot meal, taking a shower, shaving, and changing ones underwear and socks were the order of the day. We were also able to relax horizontally (sleeping on a reclining airline seat does not produce restful sleep).

We can't get too settled in because we have space available roll call every five to seven hours. If you are called you have to get your gear on the pallet and stand by for bussing to the flightline. Of course, silly things can interrupt the process such as mechanical failure on the bird, important cargo, or VIP's. Supposedly because our group is pretty large we have priority after cargo. Much of the cargo transiting through here is part of the aid to the earthquake affected areas of Pakistan.

I want to talk a little bit about the following snippet from Xinhua News:

Afghanistan has promised to provide helicopters and humanitarian aid to the earthquake affected people in neighboring Pakistan. The Ministry of Defense plans to send four helicopters, 20 doctors, and two tons of medicines while the Ministry of Health plans to dispatch 31 doctors, five nurses, and one ton of medicine to Pakistan, according to statement from President Karzai on October 10. (Xinhuanet)

I want to go on record that this is a big thing for Afghanistan to do. I say this because for many years the ISI (Pakistan Army Intelligence) has mucked around in Afghan politics and its internecine warfare from the time of the Soviet invasion till the time that the Taliban fell. The ISI was the CIA's agent in passing arms and cash to the Mujahadeen but was not very equitable in who got the stuff. The ISI actively supported Hekmatyar (a ruthless man responsible for many of the deaths in Kabul) and the Taliban.

This promise of aid, in my opinion, shows that Afghanistan is looking to the future and is not concerned with maintaing a blood feud for past misdeeds. This is a remarkable step considering that revenge is a staple of tribal life in Afghanistan. Slowly but surely, positive change is afoot.

Next time I post I should be in Afghanistan.

CPT NightHawk


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