I made it here to Afghanistan about a week ago. I was very surprised to find out what a truly beautiful country it really is. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking. We landed here late in the night, so when I first landed I did not get to see much of anything at all. In any case I was truly exhausted from some thirty odd hours of travel time that it took to get here. The next morning I awoke at 0500 (local time) and was absolutely stunned when I saw the enormous mountains that surround us here. Our base is at over 4800ft in altitude, and the mountains still rise far above us. It is stunning beyond the capacity for words to adequately describe. These are easily the largest mountains I have ever seen. The only rival I have ever seen for this view was in the Andes.

Quality of life here is also surprisingly good. We have two coffee shops, and there are two exchanges here. MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) has set up a number of nice facilities, including a large, very well equipped gym. So when we are ‘inside the wire’ (on base), life isn’t terrible. There are wood shacks for us to live in called ‘B-Huts’. And I have a cot. 3 hots and a cot, how can I complain?

I will try to post some photos of the mountains and the view when I can, I want to get everything cleared through the G2 before I post anything. That way no one can complain. (Though I am sure someone will!)

I don’t get a lot of time to access the internet, although there are connections regularly available, but the wait is usually long, so I have decided the best thing to do is to compose my posts and e-mails off line, in a text editor and then save the text files to my thumb-drive, and copy and paste, to maximize my thirty minute time limit on the MWR machines.

The locals here are mostly friendly, and they general consensus seems to be that the majority of them are pleased to have us here. It is the small minority which is unhappy with our presence. We are spending a lot of money to do a lot of good things here, and to vastly improve the infrastructure of the country. Our goal is to get them back on their feet and self sufficient again so that we can leave and they can continue to sustain themselves as a self-sufficient sovereign nation.

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