Awesome photos from Afghanistan. This is our sometimes "forgotten war". You can see why covering this turf just isn't the sort of thing that seems glamorous or sexy to Dan Rather wannabes.
Take careful note of the cliff-side homes in the first photo. Those are not shacks by any means.
They are well-designed and solidly built homes, made from the local materials, and easily
defensible. Such home building skills have been honed over hundreds of years of tribal warfare.
You can also see why an earthquake can totally wipe out these villages in the blink of an eye.
These are not solid granite mountains. In several photos you can see the layers of shale upended to
60 and 70 degrees over eons of uplifting. No important mineral deposits here.
Note too the overall terrain and vegetation. Only the valley floors are farmable, and much of that
floods with each spring melt. Thus with no mining, only minimal farming and minimal grazing
available, - what's a man to do to feed his family? Smuggling is the age-old answer. Dope,
weapons, outlaws, slaves, terrorists, - any item of value which advanced cultures have placed a tax
or a prohibition on have passed through these rugged valleys - for thousands of years. And notice
that with only scrub vegetation, your movements are visible to all eyes – for miles. Best to
operate at night.
To us old-time Vietnam veterans, these photos have a haunting quality. They depict many nearly identical military problems we faced, - tough terrain, isolated mountain top firebases, helicopter sling-load re-supply, and the chronic inability to tell friend from victim from foe. Just the differences of high altitude, thin air, minimal rainfall, and rocky soil make this fight so much
That was part of an email my friend Terri sent to me which had been sent to her by a Vietnam veteran.
Afghanistan's Korengal Valley...it seems appropriate to share some photographs of U.S. soldiers currently in the thick of war in Afghanistan. Getty Images photographer John Moore spent some time recently in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, near the Pakistani border, with Viper Company of the 1-26 Infantry, and brought back these images, documenting what he saw. ...A 50 caliber machine gun points out towards an Afghan village October 23, 2008 at the U.S. Army combat outpost Dallas in the Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan. OP Dallas is located in the Korengal Valley, site of some of the heaviest combat between American forces and Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. (John Moore/Getty Images)
U.S. Army officers fly back to the unit headquarters following a memorial service for Sgt. John Penich October 23, 2008 at the Korengal Outpost in the Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan. Penich, from Beach Park, Illinois, was killed by a mortar round while in combat October 16. (John Moore/Getty Images)
A monkey rides on the back of a U.S. Army soldier October 23, 2008 at combat outpost Dallas in the Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan. The monkey went along as a temporary mascot with soldiers who were switching out with comrades who had been in the remote outpost for a week. (John Moore/Getty Images)U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Debose, 26, stands amongst village elders as Afghan and American forces search for weapons October 25, 2008 in the Korengal Valley of Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan. Taliban insurgents enjoy widespread public support in the contested valley. (John Moore/Getty Image)A bullet hole mars the view from an armored Humvee as an Afghan soldier races towards a Chinook transport helicopter for his two-week leave from the Korengal Outpost October 29, 2008 in eastern Afghanistan. Viper Company of the 1-26 Infantry as well as Afghan Army soldiers are based there at the remote base and fight in some of the heaviest combat with Taliban insurgents in all of Afghanistan. The road to the outpost is so dangerous that most soldiers can only arrive and depart by helicopter. (John Moore/Getty Images)
A U.S. Army Chinook transport helicopter sling loads supplies through the Korengal Valley to resupply soldiers in the remote area on October 27, 2008 in Afghanistan. The military spends huge effort and money to fly in supplies to soldiers from the 1-26 Infantry based in the Korengal Valley - the unpaved road into the area is bad and will become more treacherous with the onset of winter. (John Moore/Getty Images)U.S. Army mortars explode on suspected Taliban insurgent positions during a firefight October 28, 2008 in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Freedom is not free. There are many more pictures in this specific series. Go to Boston.com here. (if that doesn't work: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/11/afghanistans_korengal_valley.html )
Let us NEVER forget.
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