Tea and Coffee

Slushy roads at ANA land.

Last night it snowed all night and in the morning we had about an inch of fresh snow.  I followed someone else’s footsteps for my morning trek to the latrine.  Later in the morning the fresh snowfall would melt creating slushy conditions.  On the camp, we are fortunate to have a bed of gravel around the b-huts and walking paths.  In fact, it seems

New recruits training outside in the snow.

like the whole camp is a gravel pit that was spread out evenly and then structures were placed on top of it.  The gravel allows the snow to melt easier and due to the drainage, we don’t have large puddles of standing water.  Outside the camp is a different story.  Slush and mud best describes the terrain in ANA land.

Today was a real treat

My ANA SGT Major sipping a cup of tea.

and I had an opportunity to see my ANA Sgt Major.  He has been gone for quite awhile.  His wife needed some medical treatment and he took her to Pakistan for surgery.  This seems to be a common occurrence here.  I don’t want to paint all of Afghan doctors with a broad stroke, but based on testimony from interpreters and my ANA counterparts, the civilian medical care provided here is substandard.  According to them, the medical personnel seem to be focused on making money and not really taking care of their patients.  My interpreter said if you argue with the doctor about expired medicine shelf life or mediocre care, they have an arrangement with the Police who will remove you from the facility.  Often they prescribe cheap medicines that are ineffective.  As such, Afghans drive to Pakistan for quality care.

Tribute to Mujahedeen fighter during Soviet era.

The Sgt Major and I had a good conversation about various topics including corruption, history and future.  He provided me the history behind the rock soldier outline on a nearby hill.  This was a tribute to a former Mujahedeen fighter during the Soviet era.  This “champion” served under Massoud’s Northern Alliance.  After the Soviets departed in 1989, this stone artwork was constructed in honor of this fighter.  After winter passes, the Sgt Major has offered to give me an up close look at this sculpture.

Planning session with ANA officers.

After sipping 2 cups of green chai with the Sgt Major, I attended a meeting with other ANA officers.  The Army Major in the picture was introducing them to “American Chai”, better known as coffee.  I plan to add this picture to my collection of officers doing physical work….lol.  What you don’t see is when he first poured the coffee from

Army Major Pouring coffee for ANA officers.

the carafe, the lid came off and he made a mess.  Better to leave pouring the coffee to us enlisted personnel….lol.

Even though winter is upon us, this has not diminished the on-going training of new recruits.  Every day I see new squads of recruits being transformed into soldiers.  Today I read in the local newspaper that the Karzai administration is contemplating implementing conscription for the country.  For me personally, I think this is a great idea.  This would support the expansion initiative of the national security forces, but it would also give the young men an opportunity to serve their country, form teams with other tribal ethnicities and teach them a skill and enhance their literacy.

In other local news, intelligence operatives foiled a bombing attempt by insurgents who used a donkey laden with explosives.  The donkey had four remote-controlled and more than 40 kilograms of explosives strapped to its back.  I’m uncertain whether the Taliban are trying to get creative or perhaps they are running low in suicide volunteers for their warped ideological cause. Almost every day, the local paper prints how many insurgents and Taliban are being killed by the ANA, ANP, and coalition forces.  Perhaps that image of going to heaven and being greeted by a multitude of virgins is being questioned and males are reluctant to give their life for such a misguided cause.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still brainwashed followers who believe every word that the one-eyed Mullah Omar spews from his mouth and these are the ones who are not going to reconcile and will fight to their death.  This will be evident in the much telegraphed NATO offensive of the Taliban strong-hold of Marjah in Helmand Province.  The insurgents are digging in and preparing for a fight.  Meanwhile, hundreds of civilian families are fleeing the major opium-production town to avoid being caught in the middle of a crossfire.

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing, it was insightful and very well writen. I’m with you on the theory that the talibans are running low in suicide volunteers, Our enemies are weak, thats why they run away and hide behind the innocent. They also dont have what our troops have and thats Heart !! No one or nothing can ever defeat the American Military !!! Godspeed to each and everyone, past, present and future. I appreciate what you do for me !!!

  2. This is a great post. I have to ask you what you think will make this endeavor of introducing conscription into the ANA work over time. Like Iraq, Afghan has issues with vetting recruits in the police and army and I am curious as to what you believe may help mitigate these issues.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Army Infantry Mom and AllMilitaryNews, Candie. Candie said: RT @ArmyInfantryMom: A Must Read, Really !!!,.. Afghanistan : My Last Tour – Tea and Coffee http://bit.ly/aNH685 […]

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