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Battle for Kandahar

Shah Wali Kot district Center: Elevation 3,953 feet.

While talking with the elders, an ANP (r) told villagers about the ID cards they can get by going over to the soldiers who are using the HIIDE system.  Many Afghans have never even had their photo taken.  They don’t watch Gary Sinise on CSI New York.  Most seem to want the IDs and so they will line up and give up their fingerprints, photos and retinal images.

The villagers took off their shoes before coming into the praying area.  In many places, the shoes don’t fit.  In this Padah everyone seemed to wear shoes that fit.  The enemy often wears running shoes.  None of the men or boys in the village seemed to have running shoes.

Most of the men had never had their photo taken.

HIIDE systems: Most of the men do not know their ages.  Some of the older men are missing some fingerprints from farm work.

The villages gave up some information about IED(s) on our route out.  The IEDs had been there for at least months, apparently, and the villagers were upset because they had to take a lengthy detour on another road to miss the bomb(s), so they told Captain Hanlin where to find the explosives.

Some Afghans walked straight to a suspected bomb and started digging it out, Hurt Locker style.  The soldiers here think the Hurt Locker movie is trash, and so it’s become an insult to call someone “Hurt Locker.”  I said something like, “Wow, those Afghans must have watched Hurt Locker and now they are going to die.”  The soldiers just laughed and kept doing their work while I hid behind the rocks.

And so Charlie Company walked back to the Strykers and slept in the desert.  The intention was to visit two more villages in the morning, but due to a mine roller breaking on a Stryker, and the Governor also arranged tribal shura to discuss re-integration, we didn’t go to the other two villages.  (Am unsure what people are re-integrating to, but that’s the word used here.  Another strange phrase is “Afghanistan reconstruction.”)

And that was it.


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