Monday, August 24, 2009

An Overdue Update from Afghanistan


I am nearing 75% complete of my tour in Afghanistan, and it has been a very exciting and scary ride. Recently I briefed AMB Holbrooke who is the special Ambasador to Afghanistan and Pakistan who works for the Department of State but somehow reports to Obama (the relationship baffles me). AMB Holbrooke has a reputation of chewing people up and spiting them out, I thankfully survived with a thank you at the end, I took my thank you and ran.

The other major event was the IED strike at the front gate of ISAF HQ, which knocked me on my ass. I am very thankful that the KIA/WIA was as low as they were, for all the complaining we do about the concrete barriers, they seriously saved lives that day. The next day a convoy was struck in town, and a Army Master Sergeant lost his life, he was in the IRR and when was asked to come back to active duty, he volunteered for Afghanistan. He would have turned 60 this week, so please think of him and his family in your prayers.

Elections also dominated everyone’s focus for the last three weeks. Elections here are a messy business trying to get equal representation in a country that is geographically split is a major chore in itself. This is of course ignoring the fact that Taliban were threatening to cut off fingers, threaten polling stations, and spreading disenfranchment among the ethnic Pashtun lines. Now we all sit and wait with baited breath for what will happen next, and hopefully this fragile republic will hold together. The people here voted, but were skeptical if their votes counted for anything as the majority believe that the US has already selected its winner. This is not unlike our own country where people believe that the winner is pre-determined on who programs our voting machines.

I want to thank everyone for the nice notes and well wishes, I am particularly thankful for my mother lodge Army #1105 for sending the generous gift of a box of Arturo Fuentes cigars, their gift is truly appreciated.

I hope all is well with you, please keep in touch.

Bro Vick