Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer in Kabool

A summer idyll of sorts came to an end to-day when the Taliban (scratch that - it had to be AlQaeda) - slipped a suicide truck through morning traffic in the 'western' zone to detonate in front of ISAF headquarters.

In a country where the Taliban are regularly whupped and 'on the run' in the face of Canadian, Brit of American fighting men, the goat-herding mercenaries who are, we are told, on a rent-to-fight basis and issued bullets one at a time, have an interesting propensity to show up and do some spectacular and, as in this case, none-too-damaging crap.

Last year it was a massive prison break-out in Kandahar City, followed by a parade disruption in the capital. Then there were on-going attacks on UN supply convoys in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, that had the Taliban parading around in new Humvees before they were stripped and torched. After seven years of fairly steady fighting the Taliban south is as volatile as ever and now the Taliban are extending their work into thew formerly tranquil Northern half of the country. They had actually shut down four of the five new highways into Kabul at one period this winter.

Afghanistan is anything but tranquil and the Americans can only think of beefing-up an already considerable military presence.

But the photo that came out of to-day's attacks, I think says it all. Here is a distraught American soldier - perhaps flabbergasted by sudden carnage and destruction somewhere he never expected it to happen. I'd love to know what he's telling these two Afghans, but I'd bet, whatever it is, it's in English and whatever good he intends to do is lost in translation. As it is, he seems like a nutter in uniform - and that language is universal. Look at the Afghans - they think he's lost it. Maybe he has. Maybe they have.

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