Trip to Gardez, 3-4 April 2005
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Background
Kabul
Driving in Kabul
Leaving Kabul
Roads
On to Gardez
DDR
Gardez Camps
Fortresses
Sp Forces
Marriage
Random Thoughts
Conclusion

 

Background

The team from OMC-A went to look at how the transfer of food services to the Afghan National Army (ANA) was going. Their concern was that the Afghan Army would not be able to feed itself when we Americans stopped supporting them.  

Little by little, we Americans and the other Coalition nation forces are trying to wean the Afghan military and political leadership from being dependent on us. The ANA had been trained to determine food requirements, to purchase food, to store and cook it under sanitary conditions, and to serve it to their soldiers. The food service mission had transitioned from the American Army to the ANA recently. The OMC-A team wanted to see how well it was being done.  

I was fortunate to be invited by SFC J and LTC F, with whom I’d done some Afghan food-related work on another mission. On this trip we would stay out for three days and two nights, and use Gardez, a camp about 3 hours south of Kabul,  as a base to visit other locations.  

We met the evening before to get briefed by LTC L on the route, on security issues, and on the communications gear and weapons we’d take. Just a week before, a land mine destroyed the middle vehicle in a US 3-vehicle convoy about an hour south of Kabul, killing four soldiers. My roommate, MAJ P, was in the lead vehicle, and that night he related the scene of destruction and death, of loading torn bodies onto a medevac helicopter, of the fear of stepping on another mine. He wondered why his vehicle was able to pass over the mine safely, allowing him to return to his wife and three children while another soldier’s wife and children would not enjoy the same joyous return of their husband and father.  

The next morning at 0700 we departed Camp Eggers, the recently renamed Kabul Compound. CPT Eggers was a Special Forces captain killed two years ago, again by a land mine. Truth is, I have little fear of bullets. It’s land mines and booby traps, starting to be found more often lately, that I worry about. When I worry at all. Which isn’t much.  

Still, though it doesn’t often hit the press, this country is not yet peaceful.  These are the kinds of reports that regularly show up on our daily readings.

“[Unit] reports receiving small arms and RPG fire from approximately 20-30 ACM (Anti-Coalition Militia, ie, Taliban) 22km south of FOB Gardez. [Unit] responded with two AH-64s [Apache attack helicopters] and two A-10s [attack prop planes]. There were 12 ACM KIA and two US WIA. The two US WIA were MEDEVACed to BAF [Bagram Air Field] and are in stable condition.”

...and

“[Unit] reports the [City] Police turned in a cache 37km northwest of FOB Gardez. The cache consisted of 17 107mm rockets, 109 82mm recoilless rifle rounds, 164 boxes of 14.5mm ammunition, 700 loose rounds of 14.5mm ammunition and 5 boxes of unknown type of fuses. The cache was transported back to FOB Gardez for destruction at a later date.”

I don’t intend to compare Afghanistan with Iraq, certainly the much more dangerous country. But Afghanistan is not yet Switzerland, either.

 

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