Leading up to the gate of the Darulaman compound was the remnants of some mud clay structures. Later on I learned the historical value of these ruins. They date back to the 14th century when the Mongol Dynasty was conquering this side of the world. I find it fascinating these historical artifacts have survived centuries of war, weather, and erosion. I pondered if this was the same soil that Genghis Khan or Tamerlane walked on during their barbaric quest to conquer the world.
After a grueling two hours and twenty minute ride we parked our armored vehicles and walked through the pedestrian gate of Camp Dubs. This camp was named after US Ambassador Adolph Dubs. On 14 February 1979, Ambassador Dubs was kidnapped by opponents of the Afghan Marxist government. The local police tried to rescue him, but in the process, his kidnappers executed him and riddled his body with bullets. Due to that incident, the US did not have an ambassador in Afghanistan until 2002 after the Taliban were rooted out from power. In honor of Ambassador Dubs, the camp changed its name from Camp Cobra to Camp Dubs.
On top of a high peak my team also could see another unique looking structure. We were informed this was the former Soviet’s Officer Club. My team had an opportunity and visited this facility. On top of this hill side, we had a clear view of both palaces along with a birds-eye view of the capital city. At one time this club was host to the Soviet officers and the elite Marxist government officials.
Inside there are spiral concrete staircases that lead to the roof and various floor levels. While on the roof, I had a clear view of the large concrete swimming pool covered in green algae. In the distance I spotted 2 square openings on an adjacent hillside. These were the underground bunkers used to store the large rockets and munitions for the Soviet Army.
The surrounding hillsides are still active mine fields and the resting places for hidden anti-tank and anti-personal mines. The palace grounds also possess active mine fields, so it was imperative we stayed on cleared paths. Earlier this year, a French soldier disregarded the warning and was killed when he stepped on an anti-personal mine.
While at the camp, two Blackhawk helicopters landed. I was informed one of them had General McChrystal aboard. I found a ladder and crawled up on top of the Hesco barriers and peered through the rolls of concertina wire. By the time I got up there, his security detail had whisked him away. About an hour later I hear the rotors churning on the helicopters and repeated my performance. This time I was able to snap a picture before the Blackhawks lifted off and disappeared out of sight.