I arrived at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) this past Friday. KAF is essentially our home base where higher-level coordination with the military takes place.
During the initial couple of days, Isaac introduced me to the key figures that he routinely interacts with on KAF. These include the head of the Civil Military Operations Center and local suppliers of Afghan materials. We also toured the base and I had an opportunity to do a long run around the airfield. After a couple of days, we caught a flight to one of the forward operating bases. At this base, Isaac again introduced me to a variety of key individuals including members of the District Support Team (DST, e.g. US AID, US Agricultural Dept), the US Army team that trains Afghan soldiers and the Civil-Military Affairs coordinator for the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division (Lancer 2/2 S9).
Flying over Kandahar Province on a return from a site visit to Pasab
During our meeting with the DST, it became apparent that the DST desperately needed to source funds for a replacement water pump that would help to irrigate the local Afghan fields. Because the planting season is currently underway and the funds for a replacement pump had not been forthcoming from any other source, Isaac and I decided to pay for the pump with cash on the spot. This was a rather unexpected but extremely welcomed development for the DST. In fact, I think that they were quite shocked at how quickly and effectively Spirit of America was able to deliver.
This morning, we caught a return flight back to KAF on a helo. For me, it was an excellent flight because we took a rather circuitous route. I was able to get an excellent overview of many parts of Kandahar. In the coming days, Isaac and I will be heading up to the northwest of Kandahar to meet with some of the US forces in this area and then Chrissy and I hope to make a trip to the northeast of Kandahar for some more site visits and project evaluations.
Standby for more updates!
Afghanistan Field Rep