Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kandahar: Vacation Destination?

No, of course not.  The Time piece here lists some of the amenities and lots of the costs of the KAF (Kandahar Air Field), which is the base not just for the Canadians in Kandahar Province but for Regional Command-South, one of two very violent parts of Afghanistan with RC-East.  RC-N and RC-W are not havens or nirvanas, but the tempo is not as intense.

Anyhow, this story is interesting in part because Gen. McChrystal sought to close down much of the "boardwalk"--an area of shops and "restaurants" in the middle of the base. 
 Predictably, the anonymous graffiti scrawled inside one of the boardwalk's Port-o-Johns is less measured: "I want my whopper. McChrystal sucks."
The boardwalk surrounds a square "field" where folks play ball and is next to a hockey rink.  I wonder if the rink will stay once the Canadians go home.
Construction is also due to start soon on an artificial turf soccer field and running track, amenities that Commodore Moulds says foster a sense of community among the base's multi-national personnel [SS: not surprising as military folks care a great deal about working out--PT]. The upgrade should be complete later this year, when a major military offensive around Kandahar is expected to be in full gear. Should Taliban attacks on base increase, caffeine die-hards need not worry: a sign posted outside Tim Horton's, the wildly popular Canadian coffee and doughnut chain, reminds patrons that it will reopen "approx[imately] 15 minutes after the all clear."
Forget the rink--will Timmy's stick around after the Canadians leave?  My guess is no.  And that will hurt morale until Starbucks finds yet another place to expand.

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