The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

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PICTURE TIME |

October 29, 2007

PICTURE TIME
Name: Old Blue
Posting date: 10/29/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Milblog url: billandbobsadventure.blogspot.com

Here are a few pictures of some of the recent happenings in The Valley.
Framed_old_blue_the_valley
The Valley has a lot of farms. They primarily grow wheat (already harvested), corn (pictured), potatoes, tomatoes, onions (they love onions), melons, and cotton.
Framed_old_blue_sunrise
Sunrise in The Valley. Pictures just don't do the mountains justice.
Framed_old_blue_on_patrol
On patrol with the ANP. This guy's carrying a 120mm Russian mortar round that we captured. We blew it up later. BIG boom. This round can be used to create a powerful IED.
Framed_old_blue_the_radio
The radio operator during an operational pause in The Valley. We didn't know it then, but he had about a month to live. He was killed by the IED that claimed four of our ANP in September, 2007. He was the guy who was always right there when I turned to talk to the ANP Commander. A good, hardworking kid. This is what an Afghan hero looks like.
Framed_old_blue_763
7.63 x 54R ammunition captured in The Valley. This type of ammunition is used in Russian-made machine guns and sniper rifles. It's actually a little larger than American 7.62mm ammunition. A very powerful rifle cartridge. This was part of a small ammunition cache.
Framed_old_blue_afghan_blonde_2
Afghan blonde hash. To Afghans, marijuana in all of its forms is called hashish. This is the processed end result of the marijuana plants we found all over the valley. The Afghans smoke a lot of hashish.
Framed_old_blue_raw_opium_2
Raw opium. They grow a lot of opium poppies in The Valley. We found and confiscated all sorts of opium harvesting tools during our searches, and about four kilos of raw opium. That's a drop in the bucket as far as the total output of The Valley, but operations didn't begin until the opium harvesting season was well and truly over. Politics. In any case, they use small pieces of wood with razor tips to score the poppy bulbs and then scrape off the black resinous sap that oozes from the cuts. That's raw opium. This was either for personal consumption or was waiting to be sold to a Taliban-controlled buyer to be transported elsewhere for processing into heroin. Afghanistan supplies 90% of the world's heroin, and this is where it starts.
Framed_old_blue_ana_2
ANA, ANP, and troops of the 82nd Airborne Division working together in The Valley.
Framed_old_blue_anp_followed
ANP, followed by soldiers of the 82nd Airborne, emerge from a village following a cordon and search operation in The Valley.
Framed_old_bblue_anp_soldier
ANP soldier, foreground, and an ANA RPG gunner, background. The ANP and ANA worked very well together in my sector.
Framed_old_blue_searching_2
Searching a house where the Taliban were having chai within an hour of our arrival. We didn't catch anyone this time, though. This is a fairly typical Afghan compound. Note the steps made of mud, and the general construction.
Framed_old_blue_an_afghan_nat_2
An Afghan National Army M-113 armored personnel carrier (American made) with a Russian "Dashka" .50 caliber machine gun mounted on it. To an old Cold Warrior like me, this is the height of strangeness. Seeing M-113s parked next to BMP-1 Russian armored personnel carriers, all painted in the same livery, was just plain weird. It's a brave new world.
Framed_old_blue_our_bedroom
Our bedroom one morning in Afghanistan. My crew took turns at night sitting up with the NODS to provide security. There were four of us, a terp, and 100 ANP.
Framed_old_blue_the_landscape_2
The landscape in The Valley is just plain striking. It is a harsh environment, but the Afghan farmers do a great job of water management on the local level.
Framed_old_blue_afghanistan_can_2
Afghanistan can be visually stimulating.
Framed_old_blue_someday_this_3
Someday this country may actually have a tourist industry. I've already figured out where the golf course should go in The Valley. It will include a par-3 with a 200 foot vertical drop. Very challenging.
Framed_old_blue_our_convoy_2
Our convoy coming up on a favorite ambush spot on the road in The Valley. Sometimes they hit you here, sometimes they don't. This kind of behavior is why they don't have a golf course and a tourist industry. There are a couple of prime skiing spots that need to be de-mined.
Framed_old_blue_this_is_what_2
This is what it's all about. You can see a lot of the emotions of Afghanistan on their faces. Determination, friendliness, happiness, uncertainty, and trepidation are all there on one face or another. The children of Afghanistan are the future of Afghanistan, and when these children are educated and grown and live in an Islamic democratic society that works, there will be no home in Afghanistan for extremism. That is what will make our country and all the countries of the world safer.

It is not something that will be fixed overnight. And in the meantime there is more work for soldiers and police to do. Either we can do it, or our sons can do it for us. I know that I would prefer that my sons not have to do this.

Comments

Great shots. Thanks so much for sharing these. Keep up the great work!

Thanks for sharing the photos. Afghanistan is beautiful, now it just needs to be peaceful. Thanks for your effort.

Blue,
Thanks for the great pics. Yes, it is a marvelous place with incredible visuals. The juxtaposition of dry & green & those mountains is wonderful - and you've got a good eye.

NICE PICTURES. THEY MADE ME MISS THE PLACE! ALMOST ENOUGH TO GO BACK AND DO IT ALL AGAIN...

ALMOST...

A few more brushstrokes on the Afghanistan canvas, the little details giving us a view of what's possible with a little help from her friends. I pray that all the good guys who travel up and down that valley, have safe journeys...

Thank you for sharing the pix, and mostly thank you for doing what you're doing. I hear people say "why don't we just go blow the whole place up and get it over with". Your picture of the children shows why. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Thank you for the pictures. It has made your life style 'real' to me.
It's interesting to see the countryside there. I thought it was all desert.
Thanks for what you do, for us.

Thank you for doing this, that your and my sons can stay home one day and write poetry, or be doctors, or sing...I can't think of a more noble sentiment. But on the other hand, I can only imagine how proud your parents are. Thank you, and all our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines on this upcoming Veterans day.
Do good, shoot straight, keep your butt down, and come home in one piece!

Good thing all of you 'heroes' are confiscating their last remaining way of feeding their families.

Really good understandable pictures made me change my opinion against all afghanistans kids look full of heart

interesting topic, this is a problem which we live today, our youth is a victim of this maybe we can raise awareness of this and that we have the support of our government officials and peace for our future generations, thanks for sharing subject.

I basically decided to create a speedy movie about this, I would be grateful if you could maybe take a second to start looking it and possibly leave a comment about what you consider, I left the video link inside “website” area, hopefully you'll be able to get to it, thanks tremendously.!Jordan Retro 1

This article, like so many we've seen recently in the trade press, is in my view another example of piling-on by journalists looking for material to feed their news machines. Journalists find isolated instances or events from which they extrapolate to conclusions not necessarily accurate.

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