Leaving the Limey's to Their Well Deserved Fate
Kabul, Afghanistan - 31 / 5 / 02
Mama donít let your babies grow up to be war correspondents, or in my case a cowboy in Afghanistan. Being on foreign assignments isnít all that its cracked up to be. I do not see the glamour that is portrayed in books and on the screen, or at least I have not been made privy to it. My god, my day has consisted of watching a bootlegged copy of Attack of the Clones and drinking Guinness. Sure there is the occasional power outage during the day and the few phone calls that come in from the London Bureau (I think they call just to see if I am sober), but where is the excitement that I was promised in the brochure? I guess I will just have to wait until I get to Islamabad in order to receive the fruits of my labors.
I received the call last night that my presence was requested in Pakistan at my earliest convenience. I have tried to drag my feet on the issue, but it only bought me till Sunday. I have no problem admitting the apprehension that I have going to Islamabad, not so much because of the tension in the area, but the prospect of having to fly in a small prop plane across the Hindu Kush. Last time I made the journey all I could think of was the Uruguayan rugby team stuck in the Andes. Nonetheless, the CBS cameraman has been trying to ease my feelings on the matter, calling me from poolside, lounging about after a hard day of riding around in a helicopter surveying the frontline. His major selling points have been: the availability of sushi, two star lodging accommodations, and the Russian prostitutes at the China Club. For some reason I am looking for something more to sweeten the deal. I guess I have just been screwed one too many times when buying cars, and it makes me cautious with the sales pitch, although I have never been promised sushi as part of the deal before.
It may be best that I am leaving, after watching some of the events that are occurring at the house. I am afraid that I might be witness to a repeat of the British massacre of 1842. Granted, it would just be one Brit this time, but the locals have filled me in on their displeasure. This quiet dissent began to ferment after the arrival of the new ABC engineer, who I had worked with a week before I left Kabul the first time. His first order of business was to try and evict three of the locals from their room which they have occupied since December. The reasoning behind this escapes me, since there are numerous, vacant rooms. I also think that his military training in Her Majestyís Army might be taken as a bit too abrasive in his interaction with the locals. To make matters worse, tonight he decided to view The Man Who Would Be King with some of the locals. I bid him godspeed, for soon he shall be the lone man in this isolated outpost.
All flights were cancelled today, due to military operations in the area. It is always a comforting thought that the military will not let anyone leave the city, lest they become accidental targets. What I donít understand, is that during the day there are no signs of impending conflict, whereas now that it is dark outside, there is a constant stream of black helicopters flying overhead with the occasional jet fighter heard in the distance. Why would flights be cancelled during the day, when all the military air traffic occurs at night? I leave that question to be answered by the conspiracy theorists.
- Mike Brandenburg