The picture above was taken in Afghania valley today, while our team was inspecting the construction of a girls school.
Behind me is what’s left of a Russian military vehicle, stripped bare and rusted over the years since the Soviets departed more than 20 years ago.
To the naked eye, most of Afghanistan looks the same. But, every once in a while, we see reminders that the Soviets were here.
For example, the shells of tanks and old military trucks litter the roads in some areas. I assume that they were disabled, and rather than expending the effort to fix them or return them, the Russians just left them.
But, the most interesting reminder of the Russian occupation comes in the form of light-skinned Afghans. The majority of Afghans have an olive-complexion hue to their skin, and their hair is often a dark color. When I see a blond-haired, blue-eyed, Afghan with light-colored skin that could pass for caucasian, I suspect that the person’s father was Russian. I don’t know first-hand, but some Afghans do claim that women were sometimes raped by Russians.
The way that we conduct our operations today, it is not likely that Afghans will accuse coalition forces of similar crimes. And, because we never leave anything behind on the battle field, they won’t have our old vehicles rusting away on their landscapes.
I wonder what remnants of the US will remain once we leave … I guess, if we’re doing our jobs, it will be nothing.