KABUL, Afghanistan — Good evening, friends. After a long odyssey that included two long commercial flights and a stop in Turkey, photographer James Lee and I have made it to Afghanistan.
That’s step one. At some point in coming days, we will make the move to Camp Leatherneck, the sprawling forward operating base in Helmand province that is home to thousands of Marines and the headquarters of I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Then it’s on to infantry units in the northern districts of the province.
Early impressions? The military side of Kabul International Airport — KAIA, as the troops call it — is a dusty, multinational outpost, but it has a variety of creature comforts that we won’t be seeing later in this trip as we find our way to the countryside. I just poked into the recreational center here, and it was filled with troops from several countries playing ping pong, watching movies and emailing their families.
J. Lee and I split a pie from Pizza Hut this afternoon, then caught up on some much needed sleep. We’ll have much more here on Battle Rattle in coming days.