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Sep 9, 2018

Camp Bastion a Ghost Town?

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  • Birthplace of the Taliban. We Westerners have expectations. Our drinking water will be clean. Our food will be safe, at least to our immediate health. And we expect our cities to be towering and (fairly) clean, with subways, sewers, and all-night shish-kabob. Tsk, tsk, I say. I present to you below an aerial shot of the famous Afghan city of Kandahar. You can see they're not big on third stories in Kandahar. Or seconds. The local Otis Elevator man goes hungry here. As does the asphalt contractor. The place is so dusty that even if there were all-night shish, it'd come with a side of the local terrain. Still, most of the 600,000 people of Kandahar are happy, unburdened by the bombardment of expectations we chug down in the West. Most Afghans do not care who rules them in Kabul. Or Pakistan. Or D.C. They see Western involvement in their affairs as a nuisance or, better, as a business opportunity. Most cannot read or write or have access to the Internet. You can't entice them with time shares or a sign-and-drive lease. Life is simple, though short, with life expectancy between 44 and 61 years depending on whom is asked. It's hard to change a culture with roots that go down a thousand years. The West could inhabit Afghanistan for three generations and not move the needle. Why are we still there?
  • The video below was taken from an S-61 helicopter flying over Afghanistan. This is the country's base terrain and is even more inhospitable than it looks. Similar ground in the West could hold a fancy ski resort but here there's an Afghan village stuck between two crags, resistant to dehabitation simply because the people who live there have always lived there and have done so for generations. When the snows come, they hunker down, by February near death from starvation, yet they do not relocate. During Operation Enduring Freedom western military forces would supply the most desperate but now?