I've arrived safely in Kabul after nearly thirty hours of travel time. The city has an 'alert face' on right now after the attacks yesterday, so it was slow traveling from the airport. The police and army are both being thorough and conscientious in the security of main thoroughfares and we passed through six or seven checkpoints before finally reaching the compound. As a compound, it is quite comfortable, but those six or seven levels of security between here and the average Kabuli create a feeling of psychological and even physical distance, even though they cover less than the distance of a kilometer.
Stepping off the plane at Kabul airport crystalized the mix of feelings attendant on this adventure in Afghanistan. The mountains, snow-capped and gorgeous and imposing were also barely visible through the smog and dust. The air was acrid and the smells brought back a rush of memories from Baghdad and Saigon. Kabul is its own place though, a dry mountain city living uneasily half at war.
I am very much in listening and learning mode right now. Fortunately PDT has established an outstanding team and everyone has been a wealth of technical, personal, economic, and security information. As my task in Kandahar becomes more real and less theoretical, it still looks huge but thankfully it also looks like a challenge that can be tackled and that can become a major success.