View Full Version : E-Mail from Marine in Afghanistan

01-03-03, 10:46 AM
From USMC Lt with Spec Ops Command. Sounds a little like Nam - bad food, bad people, AK-47s..


I'm here in Afghan and it is freezing cold. There are
huge snow topped mountains and are mine fields all
over here so we can only go where it has been cleared
and marked..by our people. Everyone is armed at all
times with ammo fully loaded and full body armor.
There are some Afghans working here. They look pretty
hard and primative. All they wear are rags with
running shoes. I cant believe they are not freezing
to death. They think if you do not have a beard you
are a woman. We have seen no Afghan women yet. Most of
our guys here have mustashes and beards. We go out
into the mountains everyday we are here so it is
trying and interesting. Most of the vehicles are
Toyotas as they last longer and are more reliable and
blend in. Our flight here was 8 1/2 hours freezing on
a C-130. After we landed the plane went to take off to
leave and one of the engines caught fire and the plane
is still here. I'm glad we didn't have to fly any
farther. Our Spec Ops guys here are living pretty
rough; some are in the mountains all the time. The
mountains here are not like home they go over 12,000
ft. Everything has gone so far, except our first
flights getting delayed so I'm glad about that since
I'm responsible for everything.
I just got back from Kabul, it was very interesting.
This country is like the stone age. We saw Bedoins on
huge camels packed with supplies moving across the
fields. Everyone you see has guns, land mines are
everywhere, as well as hundreds of hulks of old Soviet tanks,
armored vehicles hit by the Muhadajadeen. We went to
see the Afghan army training in the mountains and they
were very interested in learning more about us. A few
could speak some English and I talked with them. We
had to drive in an armored convoy. I drove a Toyota
Land Cruiser with steering wheel on the right.
Everyone had guns ready out the windows. We had a
machine gun vehicle in the front on point and at rear
of the convoy and they told us not to stop for
anything. The Afghan warlords will herd animals right
in front of you to make you stop and then ambush you
but we were ordered to run through fast and not to
stop even if you hit someone! There are minefields on
both sides of the road so you cannot step even one
foot off the side. We saw the weapons caches our Spec
Ops guys have captured with hundreds of AK-47 rifles
and all types of weapons.
The Afghans live in such extreme poverty! Our Green
Berets tried to teach them to use port-a-johns and
they would just wash their faces in the toilets and
come out with the blue chemicals all over their faces!
We drove through many warlord checkpoints on the road
guarded by guys with AK-47s and rpgs who would stop
all cars and collect money as ransom but we would just
fly through . For now, they won't mess with Americans
because we have so much firepower, which is about all
they respect. We have heard landmines (most laid by
and for the Russians) being blown here each day by
poor native people stepping on them. Truly, this place
is like the wild west! Tomorrow we go south for a few
days. The Spec Ops guys here have no heat, just
mountain sleeping bags. They are living a hard life
here and really deserve our respect and that of the
American people! No hot water and only Afghan food
and combat rations to eat. The Afghans invited us to
eat with them but they were serving disgusting
terrible smelling rotten meat and we tactfully said we
had to get going. I have eaten in some Third World
places but this is the worst! Their chow hall was
filthy with rotten food all over the floor. And they
just crap everywhere, even while waiting in line for
food they will just squat. None of them were ever
raised with running water, only living off the land
like animals, growing up in contstant war while
fighting the Russians and one another. They are
survivors and the seemingly low priority concept of
hygiene and preservation of food does not concern
them. This is what our spec ops guys are up to, in
trying to train them. What a challenge! BUT, they can
survive the elements with no problem much better than
we can.

David Place