Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Harsh Winter

I bet you didn't know that this past winter in Afghanistan was the harshest in the past 30 years, I didn't. The article, below, explains just how bad the weather has been here. This illustrates just how fortunate we are in the United States to have all the modern conveniences such as well constructed homes, heating, ample clothing and food to survive harsh conditions. Most areas in Afghanistan are not so fortunate. The US and other coalition forces are helping to improve the situation. As you read the article below, imagine if this ever happened in the US. Then imagine the outpouring of support to help victims that would follow so it would not happen again.

KABUL, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The death toll from Afghanistan's harshest winter in recent living memory has hit 926, an official said on Saturday, adding the figure could rise further as access to remote areas improves with the thawing of snow. More than 316,000 cattle had perished since the onset of winter in mid December, Noor Padshah Kohistani of the National Disaster Management Commission said.
"The figure for human losses stands at 926 today. It could go higher, for roads have been reopened and we will find unreported fatalities," he said. Nearly half of the victims came from western areas and where more than 90 people have had their fingers or toes amputated because of frostbite. A special hospital is dealing with frostbite victims in the western city of Herat.
Apart from human losses, the deaths of cattle are regarded as a huge loss for Afghanistan, an agricultural country that largely relies on foreign aid. The United Nations World Food Programme last month appealed for extra food assistance for 2.55 million Afghans until the next harvest in June. More snow is expected in coming days in several parts of the mountainous Central Asian country which may trigger floods and avalanches.

On a more cheery note, my clock is ticking away and I am getting closer to going home. I mentioned previously that I would share a bit about the process of returning home and what we call redeploying. Here is a quick summary of the process.

After completing my IA mission, I will travel to Kuwait to go through the Warrior Transition Program (WTP). This lasts about a week before returning home to begin reintegration into life in a non-combat environment. This involves turning in gear and receiving lectures about how to reintegrate back into normal life. Some people do struggle with the return and can behave differently. I don't expect I will be too much different although I may have to try and forget speaking in acronyms or at least military ones.

Following Kuwait and the WTP I will go to the Navy Mobilization and Processing Site NMPS at Norfolk for about a week of outprocessing and reintegration to the Reserves. After that I will go to Port Hueneme where my home command is and check back in to my reserve unit. I will get my records updated and ensure that all documentation of my service is correct. Then it is back to normal life.

Here in Kabul, I have completed my turnover and now I am going to move over to another area to help out with future planning. I figured I had about a month of time left so I decided to help out in another area of CJ4. No relaxing for me.

And now for something completely different (you Monty Python fans might remember that one).

Here are the top 10 signs you might be a Taliban:

Number 10. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.
Number 9. You own a $300 machine gun and a $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can't afford shoes.
Number 8. You have more wives than teeth.
Number 7. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
Number 6. You can't think of anyone you HAVEN'T declared Jihad against.
Number 5. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry ammunition in your robe.
Number 4. You've never been asked, 'Does this burka make my ass look big?'
Number 3. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
Number 2. A common compliment is, "I love what you've done with your cave."

And, the NUMBER ONE SIGN you might be a member of the Taliban:

1. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon unclean.

Peace to you all,


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