Tag Archives: Afghans

Ranger graveyards swelling in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is taking it to the Rangers.  Not the U.S. Army Rangers or the Texas Rangers but the Ford Ranger.  Unfortunately, many of them are ending up in vehicle graveyards.  Maybe this is a method for improving the mineral wealth of Afghanistan:
Any redneck would be proud of this boneyard.  If your Ford ever needs a part, you’ll probably be able to find it in Afghanistan.

If you ever wondered how Ford Motor Company survived without the bail-outs given to GM and Chrysler, it may have had something to do with the sky-rocketing demand.  At $50,000 for a crewcab and $30,000 for a 2-door, it doesn’t take much uptick in business to keep the balance sheet in the black–even if the product was built in Thailand.

According to BG Tim Ray, the Afghans have suitable “stick and rudder” skills.  Unfortunately, their ‘wheel and brake’ skills aren’t quite as advanced.

Bubba could retrofit this for his parts hauler. . . too late

Not to be left out, the Afghans haven’t had much success driving International Harvesters either.  But there aren’t quite as many to wreck, so their numbers are a little lower. 

Of course, every boneyard must be colocated with a bar–it keeps supply AND demand booming.

Honky-tonk on a box:  Just add neon

Southern Afghanistan Economics:  Combine a drinking establishment with a boneyard and Class IV yard and you have a recession-proof business.

How do you say “Bubba” in Dari?

New weapons clearing procedure

You think seeing U.S. Marines urinate on Taliban corpses was disturbing?  Check-out the U.S. Army’s new (unofficial) weapons clearing procedure:

From “The Big Picture” at http://www.boston.com (December, 2009)

Wait until the Marines find out about this. 

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye!

Afghan women gaining respect 9 millimeters at a time

The cover of the December 2011 edition of NTM-A’s magazine Shohna ba Shohna (Shoulder to Shoulder) shows Dutch female police officers training Afghan women in pistol marksmanship.

Both Shohna Ba Shohna and the Netherlands Ministry of Defense reported  the graduation of several women from a two-week security course in Kunduz Province last October.  Since men are unable to touch women according to muslim law, women are vital to ensuring security at check-points around the country.

With the women learning to use pistols, handcuffs, and conduct body-searches and pat-downs, their husbands may not need to ask American medics how to get them pregnant.  

Don’t expect a sexual revolution to overtake Afghanistan anytime soon as there is a catch.  Afghan women are also being taught GIRoA law, human rights, and self-defence which may introduce Afghan men to a truly miserable existence!

Big Boy visits Afghanistan

Someone must have been on their last day at Camp Eggers; something is just not right about the automated announcement from the NTM-A JOC.

If you aren’t in the military, this will not be funny one way or the other.  But for anyone familiar with military installations, this is funny, especially for Afghanistan. 

If you’ve been in Afghanistan and understand the affinity for boys, this announcement takes on a whole new meaning.

Hopefully, the exercise helped prepare the Embassy because when they use their their “Big Boy Voice” there is likely to be an uptick in interest from Afghans.

Frozen Lemons Construction Company

The Afghans are definitely resourceful.  With billions of dollars available from through coalition efforts, there is no shortage of initiative and creativity.  But what do “Frozen Lemons” have to do with construction?

At least “Frozen Lemons” has a fighting chance in Afghanistan; naming your enterprise “The 39th Construction Company” would be a sure loser.

But you haven’t “arrived” until the locals name their companies after you, as is the case with the “Rusty Rhoads Construction Company.”

The once and future Afghan Air Force, Part III

More lawn darts recently arrived at Shindand Air Base as announced on the NTM-A Blog:  Afghan Air Force receives first of six new Cessna 208B’s.

ISAF photo

 To quote a former AAF advisor: 

The US pilot said that flying with the Afghans is like flying with 5 year-olds.  They get mad and just quit or they walk-off or just don’t show up some days for training, etc.  . . . Every time he flies, he worries it’s his last day. . . 

These new aircraft will undoubtedly join the constellation of stones placed firmly in the setting that is Shindand–the ‘crown jewel’ of Afghan Air Force.

Lessons Ignored

The Counterinsurgency Field Manual, written by Generals Petraeus and Amos, contains lessons learned from past counterinsurgencies.  One such lesson is cited below in its entirety:

Building a Military: Sustainment Failure

By 1969, pressure was on for U.S. forces in Vietnam to turn the war over to the host nation in a process now known as Vietnamization.  While assisting South Vietnamese military forces, the United States armed and equipped them with modern small arms, communications, and transportation equipment—all items produced by and sustained from the U.S. industrial base.  This modern equipment required an equally sophisticated maintenance and supply system to sustain it.  Sustaining this equipment challenged the South Vietnamese economically and culturally, despite the training of several thousand South Vietnamese in American supply and maintenance practices.  In short, the American way of war was not indigenously sustainable and was incompatible with the Vietnamese material culture and economic capabilities.  South Vietnam’s predominately agrarian-based economy could not sustain the high-technology equipment and computer based systems established by U.S. forces and contractors.  Consequently, the South military transformation was artificial and superficial.  Many South Vietnamese involved in running the sustainment systems had little faith in them.  Such attitudes encouraged poor administration and rampant corruption.  After U.S. forces left and most U.S. support ended, the logistic shortcomings of the supposedly modern South Vietnamese military contributed to its rapid disintegration when the North Vietnamese advanced in 1975.

From:  U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual, 3-24, p. 8-10 (176/282), Univ. Chicago (2007). 

Courtesy of RJR.

The once and future Afghan Air Force

NTM-A is not only building an Army and Police force for Afghanistan but also an Afghan Air Force (AAF).  Currently, the majority of students are sent to the U.S. for training as there is no indigenous training capability in Afghanistan. 

Last month, a milestone was reached:  the first 3 Cessna 182’s arrived at the AAF’s training wing at Shindand.  Ultimately, the AAF is to grow to 140 aircraft comprised of Mi-17s, Mi-35s, and C-27s (2 helicopter airframes and a “baby” C-130).  This, however, will not be the first air force in Afghanistan’s history.

The remnants of the Soviet-built AAF litter the Shindand Air Base

 The Soviets also attempted to create  an Air Force when they were here between 1979 and 1989.  I’m just hoping the U.S.-built AAF doesn’t end up like the Soviet-built AAF.

These hulks are a reminder to Afghan Air Force trainees at Shindand Air Base that any landing you can walk away from is “Afghan Good Enough”

Donkey-Borne IEDs–Only in Afghanistan

John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Donkeys are extremely valuable in the remote areas of Afghanistan and are even common on the streets of Kabul.  Being so common, it only makes sense that terrorists would think they can launch attacks with these animals against unsuspecting targets.

For some ANSF projects, donkeys and horses are the primary source of transport for construction materials

Here is a war story you won’t likely find on Oliver North’s show:  The Tale of the Donkey-Borne IED.  Like any war story, documentation is often sketchy and the teller’s enthusiasm often over-the-top.  However, knowing what Afghans do to man’s highly-trained best friend, it isn’t to surprising that this beast of burden would be asked to give the ultimate sacrifice.

DBIED owners don't stand this close to "live" animals

Proverbs 12:10,A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

Afghan Corruption

Wall Street Journal published this very disturbing story about the National Military Hospital here in Kabul:  “At Afghan Military Hospital, Graft and Deadly Neglect.”

I have little doubt that we (NATO, Coalition partners, and Americans alike) are trying to make things better.  A day doesn’t go by that we don’t deal with some form of corruption.  We have virtually accepted that this is how business is done in Afghanistan:  Garrison commanders selling portions of their bases (government property) to anyone who can afford their price, requiring construction contractors to pay “entry fees” to enter the base to build facilities for the ANSF, misuse of equipment provided for them (see here, here, here, here, and here–although this last one is more of a reflection of the culture clash than anything), and the list goes on.  We don’t tolerate it when we experience it and demand that Afghan officials to do their own investigations and implement solutions to the corruption.

But then who is to say that our way is right and their way is wrong?  Who are we to judge how the Afghans run their country?  Isn’t this what liberals been teaching us for years–that we shouldn’t judge others or impose our beliefs upon them?  Maybe so–but we don’t have to spend our money on their way.

On the bright-side, the article cited above is old news and there have been improvements.  Independent medical audits have shown significant improvements across every medical performance metric at NMH since the fall of last year.  But in Afghanistan, it will always be an uphill battle and whether our “improvements” will remain another matter.

Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”