Thursday, May 27

11 May

After we arrived at Bagram, my Kandahar team got on the waiting list for the next flight out to Kandahar. Those going on to Kabul stayed long enough to get our SAPI plates-- the bullet resistant ceramic plates that go in our Kevlar vests, and to eat before we headed out.

We traveled in three Toyota Land Cruisers on the one our drive to Kabul. It was a very stressful drive, but I think the unit we were replacing made it much more stressful than it needed to be. Maybe some kind of 'initiation' :-) They drove very fast, cut people off, drove into oncoming traffic, went fast over speed bumps and pot holes, and generally were very stressed during the hole drive. It was very tiring even for a passenger on the one hour drive.

12 May

Today we helped run the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) press conference. It was naturally on the ISAF compound about five minutes away from ours. However, on this day there was a big protest that caused traffic jams. This made us very late. Apparently, the Afghan government had just laid off about 2000 workers-- the workers were very upset.

The Italians were manning the front gate. A Polish officer served as ISAF's spokesperson, and our CFC-A spokesperson sat next to him. We provided a female at the gate to search female journalists, escorts to walk the journalists from the gate to the press conference, and we helped setup the room. We also video taped the conference and later published a transcription of the conference internally.

each spokesperson make an opening statement and answered questions from over fifty media. ALL the questions were for our spokesperson and were about our treatment of persons under control (PUCs).

Later in the day some of us went for a orientation drive through the city. Most everyone waved at us. One feminine looking young Afghan man even blew me a kiss! I guess it was 'man-love Thursday'. The guys we replaced said on Thursday many men here spend a lot of time holding hands, etc. I'm not sure yet whether there's a large homosexual population here or if it's just their culture. Probably the latter. Gays were oppressed and killed under the Taliban, so now that the Taliban are gone from the city they might be experiencing a renaissance of sorts.

We drove to the Hotel Intercontinental, which is on top of a small mountain in the middle of the city. From there we had a panoramic view of Kabul. It's amazing how big it is. Not many tall buildings, but lots of small ones tightly spaced and reaching for as far as you can see except for where they but up against the mountains.

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