I’d thought I’d share some pictures of the many Land Cruisers and Land Rovers I’ve spotted while in Afghanistan. The trucks with all the antennas on the roof have ECM – Electronic Countermeasures. The Arctic Truck belonged to the Lithuanian Special Forces. It was fully armoured. Please feel free to ask any questions on the comment page. Mike
I like to take in the historic sights wherever I go and I won’t let a little terrorism stop me. In talking with the Counternarcotics Colonel, he insisted we go and see some of the most notable sights. Having a six man PSD ,of course, helped with the security situation. The caretaker was kind and took us on a guided tour of the castle. This was also an excellent trip for the Police to see a piece of their history that they would not have normally been able to experience.
The Citadel of Herat, also known as the Citadel of Alexander dates back to 330 BC, when Alexander the Great and his army arrived to what is now Afghanistan. The Citadel was restored between 2006-2011 Herat is on the UNESCO World Heritage site list.
Herat Province is located in far West Afghanistan and is bordered by Iran and Turkmenistan. Most of the influence here is from Iran and there is much commercial and illicit trade with Iran.
Afghanistan exports Heroin and Opium to Iran and Iran returns the favor by exporting
Afghanistan imports 90% off its needs except agricultural products. Imported are oil products, electricity, cement, construction material, carpets, home appliances, and detergents. Exports to Iran are nuts, carpets, agricultural products as well as handicrafts.
Herat is the third largest city in Afghanistan has a rich history and was once known for its wine and silk. The city is busy with construction and commerce. Traffic is hectic with hundreds of three wheeled Tuk-Tuks carrying incredible loads of cargo and passengers. There is an International Airport that services domestic flights as well as flight to Iran and Indian.
Most women are completely covered in burkas. There a very few who show their faces but are covered head down. One can only imagine how confining being a in burla can be. The burka is covering a fully dressed woman (No cute bra and panty sets under there) so the heat must be oppressive. Pedestrian accidents are very common as a burka clad woman cannot see very well in front but have no peripheral vision. All sounds are diminished as well. How to eat and drink?
The majority of the people are Tajik so support for the Taliban is not very popular. That being said the Taliban threat is very real and increasing daily. Recently two female Finnish aid workers were gunned down while in a taxi. NGO are easy targets due to their naive beliefs and lack of basic security procedures.
Unfortunately the security situation does not allow for getting out and walking around. So my pictures are from the safety of my armored Land Cruiser. I did get out taking some pictures of the 15 century minarets. The minarets, an UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate is all that remains from a large mosque, madrassa and mausoleum complex. http://wikitravel.org/en/Herat
Grave on the side of Highway One. Apparently an UKN person was killed by a vehicle. People then entombed the body with rocks. The first few days after the accident you could see the fluids draining from the body staining the earth.
After my appointment with the dentist we drove to our camp about a 15-20 minute drive depending on traffic.
There are several pictures of burka clad women begging. In Afghanistan, as in most of the Muslim world, women are nothing but property with little or no value. Many of these women are widows and have no outside support system to help them.
I hope you enjoy the pictures and I welcome your comments.
I had to make a quick trip to Kabul and thought I’d better to go to the dentist while there. You would think that being in Herat Afghanistan going to the dentist would be a major problem.
A simple e-mail to the clinic Guardian International (www.guardianmedevac.com) located at Green Village in Kabul and I had an appointment.
I am fortunate to be working under a State Department contract so I am to travel on the State Department Air Wing. With almost daily flights, gone are the days of waiting endlessly for a Military Space “A” flight. An hour and half flight on a Dash-8 aircraft I am in Kabul and get picked up and off to Green Village. During the flight, it is easy to see how vast and rugged the country is. The entire flight was over mountains some still with snow on them. In some of the valleys you can see small settlements completely isolated.
Green Village is run by a company Stratex (www.stratexfs.com ) and is Western oasis in warn torn Kabul. Green Village is where life support is provided to Western contractors, NGO‘s , UN personnel and EU personnel. The compound is secured by a force of Nepalese Gurkas and former European Military members. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=34.54565587443474,69.23199285572424
The dentist was from Romania she was very nice and efficient she fixed my issue.
The city of Kabul is a city filled with activity; lots of crazy traffic with hordes of white and yellow taxis. Interspersed with this traffic are armored Land Cruisers transporting, NGOs, the wealthy/powerful Afghans, NATO military, UN and me.
The is also a hustle bustle of shops and markets with people going about their business as if there was no brutal civil war of Muslims against Muslims. The Taliban which favors targeting civilians in it’s a struggle to return Afghanistan to the Stone Age.
Here some pictures I took on the way to Green Village from the airport. I hope you enjoy seeing a little bit of Afghanistan outside of the new reports of IEDs.