Friday, January 24, 2014

Kabul Nightlife - A (sometimes dangerous) World of Its Own

The average U.S. Soldier or Marine deployed to Afghanistan at the small Combat Outposts (COPs) and larger Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) would be very surprised at how some of the expats (foreigners) work and live in Kabul - the capital of Afghanistan. Living on a large military FOB is not a pleasant experience. The large bases are dreary - built of concrete walls, wooden B-huts that cram occupants into (not-so-private) small living spaces, and usually crowded offices and work areas. The large FOBs are always noisy with fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft coming and going at all hours of the day. The scenery is rather unexciting unless you are fortunate enough to be on a base near some of the spectacular mountains found in Afghanistan. Living on a Combat Outpost (COP) is even more austere - the food generally is not that good and there are usually inadequate shower and toilet facilities. Mail comes late and there is not a paved road in sight - only crushed gravel (small rocks really) to walk around on.

Contrast the life of the Soldier on a FOB or COP and you would be quite surprised. There is a different life in Kabul - a relatively safe place despite the periodic made-for-media attacks that the insurgents mount from time to time. Recently the life style of expats (associated with international or non-governmental organizations) who live and work in Kabul came to light with the tragic bombing of the Taverna du Liban restaurant in Kabul. For more on this read "The Slaughter of Foreigners in a Restaurant in Kabul Exposes Dangers of Nightlife in a Warzone", The World Post (Huffington Post), January 21, 2014.

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