Much thanks for your patience as I adjust to the technical challenges that life here in Afghanistan affords. I’m currently working at Kandahar Air Field, and only within the past twenty-four hours have I (after much difficulty) procured an open Internet connection. And by “open”, I mean that it is unrestricted: obviously through work I can easily access the Internet, but the Department of Defense understandably limits access to “time-waster” sites, so I have little ability to use the Web for purposes other than checking the news and sending e-mail. All blogs are prohibited. Fortunately I’ve found a reasonably secure wireless connection at an Internet cafe, though it is slower and more expensive than anything I would encounter stateside. Needless to say, my access is limited and will continue to remain that way until I’ve found a rhythm.
But that rhythm will elude me for quite some time. Within the past two days, I have found out that I am most likely going to transfer to one of the bases in the north of the country, with a probable interim period at Bagram Air Field (also in the north). Thus, I cannot forge a contract with an IP here in Kandahar because in all likelihood I won’t remain here much longer. To avoid this post from seeming overwhelmingly negative, let it be known that these changes, though jarring, should also prove exhilarating and will allow me to explore military installations within a variety of milieus: some run by NATO, some by Americans, some by other allies; some in regions more peaceful than others; some in milder climates and lower elevations while others are nestled in the lofty, frigid Hindu Kush range that comprises a huge portion of this landlocked nation. I will continue to work on posts of American landscapes which will appear intermittently here at the blog, and–security concerns notwithstanding–will alternate those more conventional posts with montages of the dusty valleys of eastern Afghanistan.
I conclude with a photo from the “Boardwalk” of Kandahar Air Field–essentially the downtown of the base, a commercial center where the most people congregate and the majority of conventional goods and services are available. (Also the most frequent target of hostile rocket attacks.) Are these distance measurements accurate?