Afghan Dispatch #13: Gifts (Originally Sent on July 18th, 2012)

Any one that has a cat knows that on occasion, the cat will bring you
“gifts.” Sometimes it’s a dead mouse, sometimes a scrap of food, etc.
Afghans are like cats in this regard.  They seem to be incredibly
dependent on our approval. They are always striving to earn that
coveted “double good.”

Among the Afghan’s common “gifts” are live improvised explosive
devices(IED), the ubiquitous road-side bomb. Instead of waiting on
trained personnel to disarm the device, the Afghan security personnel
often dig them up and bring them to our doorstep.  Every time they do,
we tell them to leave the device well outside the compound, and we
call the trained guys. You’d think that after earning an emphatic “NO
GOOD!” that they’d get the hint.

The other day must’ve been somebody’s birthday, because the Afghans
brought us a bomb AND a dead Talib fighter.  The Talib had apparently
attacked a police checkpoint, and was dealt with in short order.
After being forensically processed, the fighter was put in a bag and
carted away.  The bomb guys showed up and dealt with the bomb.

I had a chance to meet the man that had destroyed the enemy, and he
was being given the hero treatment by his fellows.  Apparently, no one
hates the Taliban more than the Afghans being terrorized by them.

This reason more than any other is what will lift Afghanistan up by
its bootstraps. Like the Iraqis, they are just tired of dealing with
these guys’ shit.  They are tired of the threats, they are tired of
the random mutilations. They are tired of worrying if their next trip
to the bazaar will be their last. If the Awakening Councils of Al
Anbar are any indication, the Afghans might just be on the verge of
securing their own future.

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