Skip to content

Sergeant Godsmack vs. Nazar




Robert Bale is charged with murdering 17 Afghans. His attorney, Lance Rosen, says that he wants to visit Afghanistan. There is no value in going unless he goes to Panjwai.

If locals realize that Mr. Rosen aims to exonerate Robert Bale, he will surely face grave resistance. If Rosen survives, he will better understand the Afghan reality that his client experienced.

In the event that Mr. Rosen ventures to Panjwai, here is some free information. By following these instructions, Mr. Rosen should be able to get from any major airport in America, to Panjwai, in about 48 busy hours, or perhaps 72.  I accept no responsibility for the outcome.

Screen2-1000Murders occurred in general area of Zangabad, lower left. (Disregard the red traces; some of my old routes.)


Fly to Dubai. Drive to Abu Dhabi, to the Afghan Embassy, and get a visa. It should take no more than a few hours. Find an Afghan tailor, have some native clothing made, and arrange for it to be delivered to your hotel.  Sleep.

Next morning, fly to Kandahar.

KAF has one of the busiest runways in the world. As you descend, there will be A-10 Warthogs, Pedros, Dustoff MEDEVACs with their Red Crosses, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and dozens of other aircraft types parked on the aprons.  There might be a CIA RQ-170 Sentinel stealth UAV taxiing, while your commercial jet rolls by and passengers whip out their iPhones to take photographs. CIA has a big building just by the tarmac.

image060USAF/CIA RQ-170 at KAF. The “Beast of Kandahar” used to take off and land at the Kandahar International Airport where commercial jets landed, filled with everything from Iranians to Chinese to Taliban. I made this image before bin Laden was killed. Our government disclosed that the RQ-170 observed bin Laden’s compound. Later, the Iranians seized one intact.

At KAF, Predators or Reapers frequently take off with Hellfire missiles hanging beneath their wings. There will be Apache and Kiowa helicopters, all variety of aircraft thundering and rumbling away.  This is not an air show: those bombs and missiles are live.

The combat support hospital (CSH) is just at the runway so that Dustoff and Pedro can deliver the wounded and dead from the battlefields. The CSH is about 13 minutes’ flight away from where Chazray Clark was hit. If you get killed on this trip, a helicopter with a Red Cross might pick up your body, and the Taliban will rejoice as your remains are delivered back to the CSH.

While clearing immigration, if you hear loud sirens, it is probably due to inbound rockets. The enemy seems to shoot for the runway, and for the area around T.G.I. Friday’s.  From the direction from which some rockets fly, the terminal can be in-between the apparent targets. Dive to the ground, or take your chances standing. Big boy rules apply.

From where you are standing, or from where you are lying flat on the ground, Panjwai district center is about ten minutes by helicopter.  It is much faster to get there by A-10. The 17 murders happened about 15 minutes away by Blackhawk.


After formalities, grab a taxi. Head to the gate. Car bombs often explode around the gates.  Do not loiter. Take a left on highway A-75 and head north toward Kandahar City. This road is reasonably secure, but suicide attacks and other assaults do occur.  You are outside the wire.  (Of course, you brought all sorts of tracking devices, and you have a kidnapping plan.)

Panjway-US-forces-8500cc1000Traffic Circle: are those guys looking at you?

Drive over the Tarnak River Bridge that General Daniel Menard allowed to be hit with a suicide bomb. That bomb tossed an American MRAP off the bridge, and killed a US Soldier. You can see scars from bombs here.  Keep going to the traffic circle up in Kandahar, and tour the city a bit.  Do not loiter.  Stay alert.


That’s the Red Mosque. When President Karzai’s corrupt brother was assassinated, services were held here, and a suicide bomber got inside and filled more graves. People have been shot and blown up all around this neighborhood.  Keep moving. Enjoy the tour. Stay alert.


Those who live and travel “outside the wire” stay in constant tune with breaking news. You never know when the Coalition will accidentally run over a family or bomb a wedding, or when some nut will burn a Koran.  People at home in America will say, “Burn baby burn!” For you, however, this can translate into being shot in the head and your body hanged upside down from a light post. A Pulitzer winning photo can encapsulate the endgame.

Security firms use various feeds and chat rooms to keep their fingers on the spider’s web, alert for twitches that can ensnarl clients. Stay alert.


The Afghan police might shake you down.  If you have body armor, they might steal it. The driver should know the way to the new road to Panjwai.  Do not tell him that you are here to free the American.


Take the new road to Panjway, down past the road sign of the EOD technician disabling a bomb (it will be on your right). This road looks safe.  It is not.

Panjway-US-forces-8517cc1000Nearly to Panjwai.

Panjway-US-forces-8514cc1000That might be a Special Forces detachment with their ANA counterparts.

Panjway-US-forces-8665cc1000Special Forces base from the opposite direction, heading away from Panjwai toward Kandahar City.  (The guy on the motorbike might be Special Forces.  The jackasses blocking the road are senior Public Affairs Officers.)


Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

Delivering accurate information is not Free. Your support makes it possible.

Your gifts ensure that you will continue to get unfiltered reports of what’s happening on the front lines of this fight for freedom. This will be a long journey. The struggle is just beginning. I am asking you for your support. Thank you.

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Engage The Mission

Support The Mission

Join The Mission

Join Michael on Locals
Follow Michael on Gettr
Follow Michael on Twitter
Follow Michael on Facebook

Email (Dispatch) List

First Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.