Friday, February 02, 2007

President Karzai's Visit

Yesterday President Karzai came to visit the new recruits that 2nd Brigade received. That’s the brigade that Ken commands that has my team from Utah on it. They’re my family here.

Anyway, the new obstacle course had been recently completed so the President came to see the new troops, the obstacle course and a few other things in the area.

Wais and I got there early so we could be sure and get in but got stopped by security. There were guards at every intersection, hiding behind buildings, up in towers, everywhere. It was actually pretty cool to see that they were able to provide a good showing of security.

Later Ken and Larry showed up with their terps and even they got stopped though they had to be there. It took a call to the general of 2nd Brigade to get us through security. Either it was a showing of the trust we hold or the “fear” the Afghans have for us but we didn’t get searched as we approached the reviewing stand. We didn’t even have to give up our weapons, although later we did. Anyway, we were feeling pretty smug.

After a wait in the warm sunshine, a helicopter flew in bringing one of our commanding generals. A little later another helicopter flew in bringing President Karzai. You know they were important people on the choppers due to all the Apaches that were buzzing around.

After a visit to the 201st Corps headquarters, the presidential motorcade came to the parade field. Ken and BG Ameniula were down at the bottom of the stairs waiting to greet the dignitaries. Of course Ken thinks he’s a big shot now because he got to shake the President’s hand. Big deal!

He’s a short man, just like most of the Afghans. And of course he was surrounded by body guards everywhere. About the closest I dared get was 5 feet or so. I know that’s pretty close but still that put 2 body guards with automatic rifles between he and I. After watching the soldiers run through the obstacle course, he went and visited another location in 2nd brigade then left the immediate area to see some other things. All in all, the visit was short and sweet.

Wais kept telling me to take his picture with Karzai in the background so that’s what I was busy doing. Needless to say, I never got one with me in the background. I think I’ll live.

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