Thursday, May 9, 2013

Month 9 Day 9

Notebook Entry
Trees, Afghan National Army tanker. Year round work, eves on buildings. Lone Hill. No Tree shot holes. Poles Area of operations equals shot holes.

Journal Entry
We moved from Qalat to Ghazni today

The thing that struck me as we moved through the counryside were the trees. There were orchards and rows of lovely trees. I am nor arbor day fanatic, but they seemed odd. I also noticed that where there were trees there were no holes in the road from where IEDs had gone off. I wonder if trees would be a good metric for success in this campaign, they are a tenure crop that basically says, I am going to be here for a while, I will have buy-in with the community, work hard etc. I also wonder if people are idle for less of the time if they plant trees . so many of the problems that we have in helmand are the result of idle hands. There are [migrant] workers who come in an work feverishly for the poppy harvest, ther are almost no sigacts [significant activity] during this time, and after the poppy harvest is done, then the sigacts shoot back up. needless to say there were no trees in helmand or qandahar. Along with the trees I noticed an architectural feature called a ‘Nawa’ it sounds kind of like the city. Basically it is an eave. It keeps rainfall from running down the entire mud wall and damaging it. I started to see these in qalat, toward the end of the day they petered out. As did the orchards. As soon as they did I started to see tons of shot holes in the road. We were constantly vering around them or using the dirt on the side of the road because they had blown up a culvert.

I asked the linguists about it they said it was because the people in that part of the country are just lazy and they don’t give a shit. They said at the Kabul zoo they have a [sign] thatasays don’t feed the animals at the Qandahar zoo they have a sign that says don’t fuck the animals at the Helmand zoo they have a sign that says don’t eat animal food. This is what they think of their countrymen.

I can’t help but think that it is something deeper than that. People with no hope or thought for the future.

One thing I noticed about a lot of the old villages what that they almost all have a lone high-hill with I evidence of some fortification on top once or currently. I am sure these would have been ideal stops for the caravans, but it lets you know what an isoloated and war-torn country this was even then

We traveled into the polish battlespace. We are actually staying on a polish base. There are always a few Americans around I got connected with an army MSGT and she set us up with a decent place to stay

I had a run around base and on this ‘small’ army FOB I nearly got lost.

Had a decent dinner in the chow hall until the indirect fire warning went off. Then I spent the next hour in an air raid shelter with an army SgtMaj and an air fore retiree. They told me that the polish owned this battlespace, but that the us army was here to mentor them. So the americans are mentoring the poles who are mentoring the ANA. They complained about a lot of the same issues that we have to deal with. Stealing, ineffetive chain of command, little regard for human life. It looks good on paper to have the polish running their own battlespace, but in fact I am starting to see why there were so many shot holes in the road.

What is old is new again, an old fort re-purposed as a new fort.

An old minaret outside Ghazni

One of the innumerable 'jingle trucks' so named because of the jingling decorations that festoon them.

If only the Russians could see it now, Polish Hinds ready to fly air support for us.

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