That’s our team in the picture, walking through the Tag Ab district center. Today, we went to Tag Ab, one of our more hostile districts, to learn more about a clinic we hadn’t visited before. It was another mission outside the wire. (I’m starting to rack ‘em up lately!)
We got to the clinic to find a few people who called themselves doctors and nurses (all male,) but it was odd that there were absolutely NO patients in the hospital. Also, most of the rooms were empty (void of any medical equipment,) and what little equipment that was there looked as if it hadn’t been used in months/years.
In a country with such need, it appeared as if this clinic was simply not functioning. Or, maybe it was not functioning AS A CLINIC … we found empty AK-47 shell casings on the hospital grounds.
It’s not uncommon for insurgents to use hospitals and mosques as their safe-havens, because they know that we won’t target them (because of our laws against fighting in hospitals or religious establishments.) I’m not saying that insurgents are doing this with the clinic we visited today, but I am disappointed that rather than finding an Afghan clinic providing care to Afghans, we found bullet shells.
After the clinic, we walked over to a courthouse that was under construction. It needed a lot of work, and our engineers told the construction workers what they could do to improve the process. I don’t know much about how many lawyers and judges there are in the area, but I assume that since Tag Ab is one of our more hostile areas, recruiting can be a challenge. I hope there is a legal staff identified to occupy the building once it is complete. Otherwise, it’s not a courthouse; It’s just a building … just like a clinic with no patients or medical equipment.