Saturday, April 11, 2009

Trip Delayed

So, the weather here in Kabul was crap this morning (not uncommon this time of year), and by the time it cleared up, the crap had simply moved south to cover our destination in low-hanging clouds.

In a country composed largely of mountains, flying in bad weather is not an appetizing option. We don't have access to the fancy terrain-following radar and other goodies that NATO/ISAF forces use, so we were grounded for today. Try again tomorrow.

In the meantime, our party had four hours of sitting around the auxiliary airfield* in Kabul, waiting for the weather to clear. As happens when a group of people are forced to spend several hours together with nothing to do but spread bullshit, the stories and recollections came one on top of another. Most of these guys are not security contractors, but all had experiences in the interesting bits of the world to relate. A couple were veteran operators, with experience in Iraq, Africa, and Southeast Asia, as well as Afghanistan.

*The "auxiliary airfield" is part of the massive Kabul International Airport, but separate from the civilian areas and the NATO/ISAF base at Camp KAIA. I don't know if it has an official name, but one of the guys I was with referred to it as the "CIA field." After seeing the SUVs festooned with antenna and full of NATO special forces going in and out of the gate, I'm inclined to think he's right.

When one spends time around people like this, one hears many things which don't generally make it into casual conversation in most parts of the world. Twice this morning, I heard stories that started with the phrase, "The first time I was shot....." Odd world when people have to differentiate their stories by whether it was the first, second, or in one case, the third time they were shot. Fortunately for me (and my blood-pressure), none of those injuries had occured in Afghanistan.

No comments: