Afghanistan: April 15, 2002


Four American soldiers were killed while removing 107mm Russian rockets from a Taliban ammo dump near Kandahar. Others were injured. The Americans were Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) specialists. EOD is a dangerous business, especially when dealing with the large quantities of older and poorly maintained ammunition found in Afghanistan. 

Some 20 al Qaeda fighters tried to ambush a convoy of U.S. and Afghan troops. Five of the al Qaeda fighters were killed when the American soldiers counterattacked. Last night, someone fired some RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) at Bagram airbase (north of Kabul.)

The attacks are not just coming from al Qaeda and Taliban groups. Many of the Northern Alliance troops have not been paid for months and have turned to banditry (at night, anyway, by day they still show up for their job in some warlord's militia.) It's also important to remember that an ancient Afghan sport is to roam about taking potshots at someone not from your tribe, and then robbing them. Foreigners are considered particularly good targets, for if you kill them, you won't start a blood feud with some angry Afghan kinfolk. The feral Afghan gunmen have an added incentive to snipe at foreigners; the fighting between Palestinians and Israelis. The Islamic media world wide has made this an occasion for Jihad against infidels in generals and Americans in particular. 

One bit of good news was a heavy overnight rainstorm that caused the dried up Kabul river to flow again. The river bed has been dry for months, after two years of drought.




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