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Sunday, February 27

I recently helped the Afghan Ministry of Defense handle media for a ceremony marking the donation of approximately 50 trucks from India to Afghanistan. Part of the mission of the Office of Military Cooperation, where I'm working right now, is to solicit and process donations of military equipment, training, and supplies from the international community for the Afghan National Army. India has donated well 100-200 other trucks previously, plus other equipment. They are also helping the Afghan government in other ways. Other big doner countries are of course the U.S.A., and several eastern european countries that use former soviet style equipment. One of the keys to outfitting the ANA is building an army they can afford to sustain long term. The soviet style equipment is much more affordable and less expensive to maintain.

Here I am in front of the formation of Soldiers at the ceremony and line of new Indian trucks.


Here's a line of the trucks along the side of the ceremony, which was held in a motor pool in a corner of the Presidential compound. They had a Soldier standing in the turret hole where a machine gun would be mounted for the truck/convoy's defense.


The trucks are a brand called Tata. Here are Afghans that were trained by Tata on how to maintain the trucks.


Here's the signing of the transfer of ownership documents involving an Indian official (Indian military attache, General Nair standing in colorfully decorated camo uniform), OMC-A official (in desert camo), and Afghan official (sitting in civilian clothes). There were several speeches including one from the Indian Minister of Foreign Offairs-- like our Secretary of State.


Minister of Defense Wardak, silver hair and black overcoat, surrounded by media after the ceremony answering questions. Min. Wardak was a big mujahadeen leader fighting against the Russians. I'm told he later lived in the U.S. and tought university. He is educated, intelligent, well articulated, and projects a feeling of power and prestige.

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