Diaries from Afghan War Zone: Helmand or Hellman?

Diaries, Featured
May 17, 2011 16:52

I started my current embed on May 13 with my colleague who is a blond British girl. We were asked to be at the KAIA on Friday afternoon, by flying to Camp Bastion in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. When we were on board the British aircraft, a young Brit invited us to come and sit in the cockpit. The pilots were nice to us and I enjoyed flying with them, especially watching the landing from there.

We arrived in Helmand which I renamed as Hellman (Man from the Hell). It’s too hot over here and the AC in the tent used by journalists is broken and no one cares to fix it, although we’ve asked them several times so far. During the day, the temperature is more than 40 degrees and we don’t have any place to live comfortably. We have to go to the MWR which is a place to use the Internet, watch TV, play pool or tennis.

helmand us camp bastion

A view of the games room in Camp Leatherneck in Helmand, southern Afghanistan. Photo - Massoud Hossaini

To use Wi-Fi Internet, we have to make an account somewhere else which is away from our tent accommodation. There is no exception for journalists. Most of the US marines are young and when you see their face they seem to be calm. When you talk to them they try to talk nicely and show that they are serious and when you listen to them talking to each other, they talk like normal people about matters related to life, relationships etc.

There are no differences between them like we have in our Afghan army. It is true that these American young boys and girls are here to get money as young, uneducated and jobless young men from Afghanistan do the same but when you see them working together, walking, eating and fighting together and if you are from Afghanistan you will ask that why Afghanistan’s Army would not learn from them.

My other photographer colleague who came back from an embed from Marjah, the place that I’m going soon, told me that there is fighting going on there and their base came under Taliban attack twice. One Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier killed a US Marine commander and injured few others. I do not understand why Afghan Army soldiers open fire on US military personnel who are training them. The last serious incident was in Afghanistan’s air force when a pilot killed nine US trainers and was shot dead by US soldiers later. He was not from the Taliban. He was just angry about something.

I always wonder why killing and dying is so easy in this country?

This is my first embed after Osama Bin Laden’s death in Pakistan. The US Navy’s special forces flew from Afghanistan, killed him, threw his body into the sea, and finished the story of a horrible terrorist who ruined the lives of millions of people in my country. The biggest terrorist who was said to be watching porn in his compound as US Navy found pornography at his home near Islamabad in Pakistan.

In coming days, I will see how Osama’s story has effected the US military and their fight against terror. Are they thinking that their job is finished in Afghanistan and they will go back home and repeat the mistake of the past when they deserted Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 that led to the bloody 1992-96 civil war between different Afghan Mujahideen factions?

Mujahideen leaders have power inside Karzai’s government and they are still capable of waging another civil war. The Afghan public is scared of this prospect. It is widely believed that the Taliban are getting stronger day-by-day. The recent escape from Kandahar prison by digging a tunnel is a testimony to the fight. They have also launched their spring offensive titled Operation Badar few days ago. Let’s see what the ‘Karzai’s Angry Brothers’ will do to this mentally sick society!

Pray for me to have good photos. Cheers :)

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