Sunday, January 15

Culture force

Afghanis may have a better idea of the complete role of US special operation forces than many Americans do. And it's not just about tracking down culprits like Osama bin Laden.

Reporting for the Tampa, Tribune, Howard Altman quotes Air Force Maj. Ge. David J. Scott:  "[T]he larger role of special operators – on average older, better educated and better trained than general purpose troops – is in 'non-kinetic' missions like disaster relief, civil affairs, winning the hearts and minds at the village level and foreign internal defense, all designed to work 'by, with and through host governments.'"

Women soldiers can volunteer to join the Cultural Support Program:  "to serve as enablers supporting Army special-operations combat forces in and around secured objective areas....  training will primarily focus on basic human behavior, Islamic and Afghan cultures, women and their role in Afghanistan, and tribalism."

A year's commitment is required.

Photo, US Department of Defense


Wednesday, January 11

Afghan kittens

Even US Marines like kittens.

Daniela Caride of Taildom reports on a mission led by Marines to transfer pet cats from Afghanistan to the United States: "Brian Chambers found Kiki and his sister, Bones, at only 3 weeks old. Their mother had disappeared and the kittens were left alone to fend for themselves."

Expect to see kittens in the sequel to Fear of Beauty. In fact, a set of yellow tabbies opens the book, and they're based on experiences with Rosebud, shown above, in New York City, circa 1979.

Sunday, January 1

Ding dong

Reason to be thankful that Laashekoh has no cell phones: 

The Wall Street Journal reports that people load special ringtones on phones in case the Taliban stop them and check. "The growing popularity of Taliban-safe phones highlights the increasing sense of insecurity across Afghanistan - and in particular in Kabul," writes Dion Nissenbaum and Habib Khan Totakhil.

We can control what we show, we can hide what we know. But does that change how we think?