I know I haven’t been updating this website as much as I should, but in my defense, I’ve been busy. Today was another mission outside the wire … That’s two within two days. Luckily, they were both followed by our safely returning to Bagram. (Thank goodness.) But I don’t like this pattern.
Anyway, have you ever listened to a sports interview? Sometimes, when the game is really boring (meaning that neither team did anything spectacular,) the reporter will ask something like:
“So, your team won, but they didn’t really make any great plays during this game, why do you think that is?”
The athlete will reply with something like, “Hey, a ‘W’ is a ‘W’.” (Meaning, it wasn’t as glamorous as other games, but a win is still a win, and we’ll take it!)
That’s kind of how we felt today.
In one of our districts, local residents were upset about the width of a road that we are assisting Afghan contractors to work on. They worried that the road widening would take away their land and property. Upset, the local elders (who represent the people) met with our PRT (provincial reconstruction team,) to discuss it.
We met with them today, but we also invited the Afghan contractors who work on the road. Also, we invited a representative from the Afghan government so he could answer their questions.
The hope was that rather than the people looking to America to solve it’s problem, we would force them to look to each other to do so. Our civil affairs team members (who are usually responsible for such meetings,) calmly told the three groups that our team would no longer support any work on the project until all three (the government, the workers, and the elders) agreed on a solution.
Understanding that the road would not be completed unless they worked together, they came to a mutual solution. It was a calm, peaceful gathering … No yelling, no gunfire, and America wasn’t required to solve anything … they did it for themselves.
As far as combat is concerned, our meeting today was not as exciting as a picture of a US servicemember engaged in a firefight with the Taliban, but in this war (which is certainly a long haul,) a “W” is a “W.”