Thursday, October 8, 2009

Afghan vigil

source pic: Reuters

What am I doing here? Yeah, I know I'm out in the middle of nowhere, but nowhere is where I'm supposed to be. I'm here every day, uh, you know, guarding. Guarding the path. Making sure the coast is clear.

Yeah, it does look pretty clear at the moment, but you never can tell. One moment the coast can be clear and the next thing you know, someone might just be walking very slowly down the path. And if and when that happens, I have to go up there and ask them what they're doing out here in the middle of nowhere. And if they seem like they're okay, then I let them pass.

Well, basically I can tell if they're okay by whether or not they try and shoot me. It's usually a bad sign when they try to shoot me. But not always, don't get me wrong. Sometimes they may try to shoot me just because they see me approaching them and they ask themselves 'what's he doing out here in the middle of nowhere?'. Like all we've got is a little misunderstanding, so I apologize and let them pass. That's usually the case, because all I can do is ask them if they're Taliban or al-Qaeda, and nine times out of ten they tell me no.

Yeah, that probably is an exaggeration, because the truth is, over the past sixteen months not one single person has admitted to being al-Qaeda. I do have the occasional traveler admit to being Taliban, however. Every couple weeks. But then they always say they're cooperating with Special Ops. I call it in and, yeah, their story usually checks out, so I let them pass.

Okay, I get your point, I guess there is a feeling of futility to my assignment, just a little, because it's not a certainty of futility, you know what I'm saying? Because for all I know, maybe the bad guys know that I'm here and they purposefully avoid walking down this path. That's a very real possibility. And as far as what I hope to accomplish, I'm accomplishing my job, compadre, you should be able to relate to that. I mean, what do you hope to accomplish by herding goats? See my point.

Lonely? Nah, not too much. See that tree up on the ridge? The third one past the bend in the path? Yeah, my buddy Johanson is stationed up there beside that tree...

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