Now that I seem to be on my way I’ll quit being coy. I’m headed to Afghanistan for a couple weeks. Specifically, I’ll be traveling to US Army bases in Kabul and Kandahar. They are exotic locations and the living conditions are much different than I am used to in the states, but the work is pretty much the same.
Is it safe? Yes, I believe it is. The most dangerous part by far is the flight, and not because it is in a war zone, but because it is a flight. The problems that you hear about on the news tend to be out in the country-side or around forward operating bases (FOBs), not the big bases near cities. I found that to be true in Iraq the past two summers and I expect the same in Afg.
I tried to get this trip started last Thursday. The plan was to travel from Charlotte to Dulles and then on to Kuwait City arriving Friday afternoon Kuwait time. There is an apartment that I can use there to get a shower and some sleep before continuing on to Kandahar and finally Kabul on Saturday. Weather threatening in the DC area botched those plans. My United flight out of CLT was cancelled. The resulting ordeal that followed is too long for this post, but I will follow up with that rant shortly. United won’t be happy, believe me.
Currently, I’m in the United Red Carpet Club in the Dulles International Airport. It is a much nicer hang-out than the concourse. Some free drinks, snacks, a bar, and NASCAR on the wide screen will work just fine. I hope they don’t mind my changing the channel.
Because of the problems of Thursday, I didn’t want chance missing the flight to Kuwait again. Unfortunately, the next earlier available flight out of CLT gave me a 6 hour layover here in Dulles. So my current schedule looks like 2 hours of traveling to and hanging out in the Charlotte airport, 1 hour flight to DC, 6 hour layover in DC, 14 hour flight to Kuwait city and probably another hour or two of getting into Kuwait, getting my bag, and getting to the apartment. After that 13 hours in the apartment, it’s back to the airport for the flight into Kandahar and then Kabul to finally get bedded down around 12 hours of travel on Tuesday. Of course I will be full of energy and ready to go on Wednesday morning. Right.
For security sake, I won’t be giving any details on my specific work. You wouldn’t be that interested anyway. I will try to snap some interesting pictures that I’ll pass along if I can, so stay tuned.