Insight

From a Marine in Afghanistan

This e-mail comes from a Marine stationed in Afghanistan. It tells a story you will not read in the conventional media, but it is the truth of just what our soldiers face in Afghanistan.

I'm here in Afghan and it is freezing cold. There are huge snow topped mountains and are mine fields all over here so we can only go where it has been cleared and marked..by our people. Everyone is armed at all times with ammo fully loaded and full body armor. There are some Afghans working here. They look pretty hard and primitive. All they wear are rags with running shoes. I can't believe they are not freezing to death. They think if you do not have a beard you are a woman. We have seen no Afghan women yet. Most of our guys here have mustashes and beards. We go out into the mountains everyday we are here so it is trying and interesting. Most of the vehicles are Toyotas as they last longer and are more reliable and blend in. Our flight here was 8 1/2 hours freezing on a C-130. After we landed the plane went to take off to leave and one of the engines caught fire and the plane is still here. I'm glad we didn't have to fly any farther. Our Spec Ops guys here are living pretty rough; some are in the mountains all the time. The mountains here are not like home they go over 12,000 ft. Everything has gone [OK] so far, except our first flights getting delayed.

I just got back from Kabul, it was very interesting. This country is like the stone age. We saw Bedoins on huge camels packed with supplies moving across the fields. Everyone you see has guns, land mines are everywhere, as well as hundreds of hulks of old Soviet tanks, armored vehicles hit by the Muhadajadeen. We went to see the Afghan army training in the mountains and they were very interested in learning more about us. A few could speak some English and I talked with them. We had to drive in an armored convoy. I drove a Toyota Land Cruiser with steering wheel on the right. Everyone had guns ready out the windows. We had a machine gun vehicle in the front on point and at rear of the convoy and they told us not to stop for anything. The Afghan warlords will herd animals right in front of you to make you stop and then ambush you but we were ordered to run through fast and not to stop even if you hit someone! There are minefields on both sides of the road so you cannot step even one foot off the side. We saw the weapons caches our Spec Ops guys have captured with hundreds of AK-47 rifles and all types of weapons.

The Afghans live in such extreme poverty! Our Green Berets tried to teach them to use port-a-johns and they would just wash their faces in the toilets and come out with the blue chemicals all over their faces!

We drove through many warlord checkpoints on the road guarded by guys with AK-47s and rpgs who would stop all cars and collect money as ransom but we would just fly through. For now, they won't mess with Americans because we have so much firepower, which is about all they respect. We have heard landmines (most laid by and for the Russians) being blown here each day by poor native people stepping on them. Truly, this place is like the wild west! Tomorrow we go south for a few days. The Spec Ops guys here have no heat, just mountain sleeping bags. They are living a hard life here and really deserve our respect and that of the American people! No hot water and only Afghan food and combat rations to eat. The Afghans invited us to eat with them but they were serving disgusting terrible smelling rotten meat and we tactfully said we had to get going. I have eaten in some Third World places but this is the worst! Their chow hall was filthy with rotten food all over the floor. And they just crap everywhere, even while waiting in line for food they will just squat. None of them were ever raised with running water, only living off the land like animals, growing up in contstant war while fighting the Russians and one another. They are survivors and the seemingly low priority concept of hygiene and preservation of food does not concern them. This is what our spec ops guys are up to, in trying to train them. What a challenge! BUT, they can survive the elements with no problem much better than we can.

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