Friday, March 30, 2007

52nd Edition of the News of Afghanistan

Whoo....I am glad I still have some Alokozay Tea left. A big mug at hand, and here we go:

Yea for Chandler, AZ!

Hmmm...from Gitmo to Pul-i-Charki. Unless this new wing is waaayyyy better than the other part of the facility, I think they will miss Gitmo. I'm just sayin'.

This is something I think it is safe to say the Taliban never had.

Livin' large in Qal'eh ye-Uzbashi
(photo by me)

Lecture time.

I keep seeing bird flu stories....urk! I hope they don't go beyond this stage.

“We disagree with the kind of prolonged assessments that the UN implements in its response to a humanitarian emergency,” said Abdul Matin Adrak, head of Afghanistan’s disaster preparedness department.

An Ariana plane at Kabul International, Summer of 2004
(photo by me)

Uh-oh time for the State run airline.

Karzai reams out the locals in Helmand. Ouch! Note the change of tone from previous finger-pointing at Pakistan. Hmmmm.

Grumbling. With a dash of Italian hypocracy thrown in for good measure.

photo: UNHCR/P.Benetar

Gradual? I guess we'll see.

Aw c'mon. I thought this one was already done!

Kabul car conversions. Sorry, I just wanted to do that because of the alliteration.

Weekly round-up.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hockey Sadness

I took my son to see his first professional hockey game yesterday. I had not been to a Blackhawks game in years. I had followed their long slow decline over the past 14 years - from Stanley Cup finals to basement dweller. But this was sad. Oh, not for my son, who had a blast - but to see what had happened to a team, that you used to have to inherit tickets to get in the door to see...

The parking lots were fairly empty - so I was able to go right to the front of the $15 "cheap" lot. The parking attendant mournfully told me that when the team had even a little winning streak, they could pull in a full house...oh, and was Denis Savard going to be back next year as coach? Heh.

The seats were quite empty - allegedly, the attendance was 11,295 (capacity is 20,500). I'd say more like 8,000. I feel bad for the vendors too - Blackhawk fans can eat, oh, and can they put the beer away too.

So it was an easy night to get to the concessions, the restrooms, and pull back onto the highway and get home quickly. The game result? Home team loses 3-1 to a listless Anaheim. If Anaheim had played like they cared at all, it could have been 7-1.

I think the 'hawks need a new logo....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another ribbon?

Last drill I was handed a packet of memos regarding old awards and the like. I didn't really look in there until now, and found that our unit had been approved for the Army Superior Unit Award for March 28, 2004- March 29, 2005:

ARMY SUPERIOR UNIT AWARD. By direction of the Secretary of the Army, under
the provisions of AR 600–8–22, paragraph 7–16, the Army Superior Unit Award is awarded for meritorious service in connection with difficult and challenging missions.

Heh. Guess CSM Bones, the Inner Prop and the rest of us did a little better job than I had credited us with doing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This may look bad with the Olympic Commitee

We have some tough coppers in this town. We have to, this is a tough city. But give me a break. A drunk cop beats a Bartender down and it was being swept under the rug until the video popped. Another cop beating story has come forward. Pattern? Silence from the Daley Dynasty. You can't cover for the scum bags, it pulls the good ones down.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Yesterday I refereed my first ever Rugby match and nobody got killed or even seriously hurt! That was my biggest fear that I would be so bad that they'd start retaliating for things I didn't call, but that never happened.
I was even asked to come back! A sure sign of non-failure.
For more details go to Illini 6!
ADMINISTRATOR'S UPDATE: For the third time or so in over 800 post, I am going to use my privilege to intrude... The 'Prop had been beating himself up quite hard about what a terrible ref he was going to be, he didn't know the Laws, etc. I knew better, AND I TOLD HIM SO!!! Nobody I know has so good an instinctive feel for the game and the flow of play. - Major John

Friday, March 23, 2007

The 51st Edition of the News of Afghanistan

The News, dinner at Kabul House tonight - what else could you want?

How about a bushkazi match between two of the provinces I used to work?! I admit a bias in favor of Parwan...

Afghan horse riders play 'buzkashi' during a competition between Parwan and Panshir provinces in Kabul, March 22,2007. Buzkashi is the national sport of Afghanistan in which players fight to place a goat carcass into a circle goal. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) [courtesy of]

Not a smart move - not at all. See also.

I hope this works out.


Photo: IRIN
Thousands of girls go to school in Kabul

Record school enrollment. This is a wonderful thing - and one that was a top priority of the neo-Taliban to stop.

Hopefully not just in Kabul... Otherwise...

India continues it's assistance. India doesn't get enough credit for things like this - probably because nobody knows about them. So now you do.

Photo: IRIN
An Afghan child receives polio drops

"A virus that does not repect borders." Polio sucks and should not exist anymore - please let this come off successfully.

Jacksonville steps up!

A short article - it is the comments that I found...interesting.

Tonight's dinner guest of honor. No, her, not the camel. Sometimes I wonder about you people...

I hope you had a Happy Nawroz!

And in Afghan Cricket News...

Vet lab!

Pajhwok has a great new look and format.

UPDATE: Marine unit told to leave. My personal opinion of this is that units like that are mis-employed where they were. If it was a matter of the Pak border - they might be better used in interdiction, LRS, etc.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Google Earth and Where I Almost Blowed Up Real Good

Ashrafkhel. I looked it up on Google Earth. A little blurry to see the cliff-side I was climbing ... and was informed that it was mined. Heh heh.

Man, that was a slow climb.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Comment Moderation

Due to increased Islamo-Germanic trolling (don't ask), I have enabled "comment moderation" for now. It may be a little while until your comment shows up, but I'll get there sooner or later.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Iran Outraged over the movie 300.....Blah Blah Blah

Cartoons........Movies........ US/Zionist conspiracy.....Great Satan........Blah Blah Blah. Good movie , but only a movie. Seems the Persians need some thing to whip themselves into a lather. Seems they have a sore spot about the Battle of Thermopylae. Truth is it would be a very different world without the Spartan sacrifice and the victory by the Athenian navy.

Where is the international outcry of injustice by the Peace Movment ?

Chlorine Bomb attacks in Iraq. These were international bad guys sending a warning to Sunnis working with the Government. And the Taliban cutting off noses and ears of truck drivers trying to provide for their families. Muslims killing Muslims. Were is the Moderate Muslim out cry for peace? Where is the so called Peace movement/International Amnesty etc? I am so tired of the lies and hypocrisy of all of them. Defend the actions of these barbarians at the gate if you desire, but there is none.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Arlington National Cemetery

I missed the News yesterday - I was returning from Washington, D.C. My work had an "offsite" meeting for three days in Alexandria, VA. I had one small bloc of time to myself, and I was only a little ways down the highway from Arlington National Cemetary. I had not been there before, so the choice was easily made for my bit of free time...

The first individual grave that I noticed out was SGT Eggers:

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division. Place and date: Near Le Catelet, France, 29 September 1918. Entered service at: Summit, N.J. Birth: Saranac Lake, N.Y. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Becoming separated from their platoon by a smoke barrage, Sgt. Eggers, Sgt. John C. Latham and Cpl. Thomas E. O'Shea took cover in a shell hole well within the enemy's lines. Upon hearing a call for help from an American tank, which had become disabled 30 yards from them, the 3 soldiers left their shelter and started toward the tank, under heavy fire from German machineguns and trench mortars. In crossing the fire-swept area Cpl. O'Shea was mortally wounded, but his companions, undeterred, proceeded to the tank, rescued a wounded officer, and assisted 2 wounded soldiers to cover in a sap of a nearby trench. Sgt. Eggers and Sgt. Latham then returned to the tank in the face of the violent fire, dismounted a Hotchkiss gun, and took it back to where the wounded men were, keeping off the enemy all day by effective use of the gun and later bringing it, with the wounded men, back to our lines under cover of darkness.


There were some famous heroes too:

And recent heroes too:

Others I wondered about:

Who was PFC Brown?

Who were 1LT Marsh and LTC Berry?

And I saw more than one person like SFC Joel...service in three wars, and a Medal of Honor.

One huge disappointment - when I asked at the lady at the information desk where I could go to find the burials from Afghanistan, I was told that information was not being given out publically, since there were some people going there and "misbehaving". [she did ask if she could direct me to someone I knew or such] I was shocked - people would come to Arlington and protest on the graves. If there is one place that protesters should leave alone, it is someone's final resting place.

UPDATE: Typo duly noted, Gail.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Still Editing

I learned that Editing is not the same as Proofreading and that Proofreading should happen only after Editing.

Editing is moving stuff around and adding stuff to make the story stronger and increased emphasis where you want it. That takes me sitting down for longish periods of time to get into the story.

Proofreading is just checking spelling, grammar, word usage and continuity. That's easy and can be done in as little as 30 second chunks.

Gotta get to it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

News of Afghanistan ۵۰

50?! Seems like I just started doing these little round ups of news from Afghanistan. Mind you, my focus has changed a bit over the course of that time. I am trying to let people see more than bombs. Afghanistan is a more complex story than that. Also, I just want people to see who is interested in that country - and why.

For CSM Bones and I, it has been a couple of weeks where we have been mulling over events in our old AO.

So, here we go, on with the News!

A pessimistic UN story on Afghan police.

And speaking of pessimistic UN reports, here is another.

A Kabul Commodity report.

Belgians and Brits guarding Americans and Turks - all at Kabul Intl Airport. (photo

Let 'im go.

OK, let's try that jirga thing again, shall we?

Good. Plus good. Perhaps even, Double Plus Good.

And in Afghan Ex-pat Bowling News - Tora Bora defeats Mush Mush.

Ha! (photo by RAWA)
I sure hope this works out.

As Mike Ditka once asked a reporter... "Who you crappin'?" I freely admit I would rather have this guy dead, dead, dead. But this is for the Afghans to figure out.

An olive branch and a thank you.

"Tashkur, Pakistan!"


Was Pakistan working on/with ol' Hekmatyar?

Central aid authority...hmmm?

Uh-oh time on the Iranian border.

I'm just putting this one up - because I can! It's me at the main orphanage in Charikar.

Thursday, March 08, 2007 The news again

He was always there at the ECP whenever I rolled into Phoenix. He never failed to salute us as we headed out onto the chaos of Jalalabad road. He is a true hero of Afghanistan.

It is going to be an interesting Spring...

Cross dressing Taliban???? Does this only come in Blue? It clashes with my AK. Nice work ANA.

VP Cheney goes to Pakistan to have a few words with our Friends, a very Senior Taliban leader is arrested in Quetta. Maybe his cash ran out. Maybe we are making offers our Friends cannot refuse.

Gee, do you think they knew were he was????

Happy 22nd Anniversary...

It's been 22 years to the day when I enlisted. Goofy college freshman John became Private John. 11B - Infantry. CSC 2/130th.

Eventually I became LT John...

Then Captain John ...

And now, Major John!

God willing, and the creek don't rise - I may someday be LTC John. One way or the other, it has been quite an experience.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Kapisa Province. کاپيسا

CSM Bones and I would travel there - particularly to the capital, Mahmud-i-Raqi. One learned three things about the province right away - the Tagab was a smuggling route (drugs, guns, anything), it was a very small province (the smallest in Afghanistan) and the governor was a venal, thieving, and ineffectual bum.

Al-Biruny University seen center and left. On the right edge is the ruins of a once very large textile plant.
(Photo by ... me)

It's still small. The Tagab is still dangerous. The Governor was replaced with a better man.

H.E Abdul Sattar Murad, Kapisa Governor

I was not happy to see that someone had fired at the PRT working there - the response might have caused a bunch of civilian casualties. The M.O. of the attack fits the bad guys that worked this area when I was there. But it also fits the smugglers M.O. We had PRT personnel driving up the Tagab get shot at by people who thought they were going to come and raid their poppy fields. The Tagab wasn't much of a producer, but during a drought year - you could fly over in a Blackhawk and see poppy patches that were normally hidden behind mud walls.

Somebody bad shot at our people, and when they responded, the innocents that the bad guy(s) were hiding behind got hurt. I can only hope that we can make good for the families of the hurt and killed - and find out what happened to the bad guy(s).


Monday, March 05, 2007

Edit Edit Edit

I'm afraid I will not be posting much (if at all) this month because I have started NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).

NaNoEdMo is a web group that gets together, virtually and tries to spend 50 hours editing a novel of theirs during the month of March.

This year is my first year and I am editing my latest novel, Guya Principal. I wrote it in November 06 during NaNoWriMo. You can find the first few chapters on Illini6, but be warned, they will change a lot.

Please wish me luck.

My Near, Almost-Accident Experience

The Inner Prop and I had our National Guard weekend finish up yesterday afternoon. I was driving home from our armory when a truck in front of me (mind you, I am on I-90) decides a metal extension ladder and some tools are a bit much of a burden to continue carrying... I managed to slew to a halt just before plowing into everything. I had immediately gained a new respect for stunt drivers as well.

Anyway, there I am stopped in the middle of an Interstate Highway, and traffic starting to pile up behind me. I got out and ran over to fling the ladder and such off to the side of the road, when a woman gets out of the car stopped behind me and asks, in broken English, if I could put all of it in her car - as that was her husbands truck and they are moving. I looked into her car and, indeed, it was full of clothing, boxes and the like. Well, the ladder didn't quite fit, and the tools got wedged in wherever they could fit. She was yelling at her husband on a cell phone, at least I took it that way - I don't speak Spanish. I went back to my car and stopped blocking the major highway. As the adrenaline blasted through my system, I did notice the truck pulled over on the shoulder a ways down the road. I was too distracted to do anything like flip the driver off, honk or curse. Or maybe I was just being polite. I can't remember...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Chicago Soldier killed at the Bagram ECP...with many others.

He was a former Marine who later joined the Army. He was killed with many others working at the ECP we all knew so well. It was only a matter of time. I guess CSM G's dream of troops walking out to shop in Bagram will be on hold for a while. Pfc. Daniel Zizumbo was killed when the cowardly enemy of the Afghan people murdered him and about two dozen afghans trying to work and feed their families. If General Mulana is still the Parwan Police chief, I know local justice is being done Tajik style.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

News of Afghanistan ٤٩

A bit early...but I'm busy.

Gotcha! You lousy SOB!

And now for the puritanical view of Kabul, as seen by a Pakistani who ain't too happy.

Oh, Canad(i)a(n) dollars!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks past Canadian and Afghan flags in Ottawa Monday, Feb. 26, 2007 following his announcement of new funding for aid in Afghanistan.
Photograph by : Canadian Press

Trees = hope

My blogfather podcasts an interview with TF Phoenix's DC. He's ILARNG, 'cause when you care to send the very best...

Iran says...."OK, a little longer." Now Pakistan, on the other hand...

It's uh-oh time in Kacha Garhi...
(photo: RAWA)

You guys, again?

"You'll get my chicken when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!"

My earlier thoughts on the bomb at Bagram. Related here.

Whoops. Best to stay away from that border whilst smuggling.


And in Afghan astronomy news...

An Afghan boy is being loaded on to the bed of a vehicle after a bomb blast in Farah province on Thursday, March 1, 2007. A roadside bomb in the city of Farah left three civilians dead and 48 wounded, including 10 children, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo)

Look at the above photo and caption. Remember it well - for that is what the enemy brings to Afghanistan. No improvement of life, no opportunity, no freedom, just death and suffering.

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