Joshua Foust of Registan is in one of my old stomping grounds in Afghanistan this week. He's apparently the guest of the French at the moment, experiencing the wonders of the Tag Ab Valley. Go over to his site and see how the place has changed. Unfortunately there are no pictures, but I almost lost my mind when he was talking about chatting with people that I know.
By the way, the District Sub-governor that he's talked with is not the same one that I had my little chat with when we took one of the local Maliks into custody for tea-partying with the Taliban and possessing prohibited stuff, like Kalashnikov ammunition. That Wuliswahl was fired, and rightfully so, some time ago.
Anyway, Mr. Foust tells the tale of what it's like to arrive in Tag Ab for the first time. I remember that feeling... but the first time I was there it was quite the Wild West. It sounds like the ink blot that we started is spreading. You know, even with the pessimistic stuff you hear about Afghanistan, there was and is tremendous progress being made in placees like Tag Ab, which was the nearest Taliban stronghold to Kabul. It was a place where coalition troops raided but never stayed. Now the ANA and their French compatriots are doing the deal there.
I had to call O about that tonight, and we talked for some time about how it was "back in the day" in Tag Ab. I think we both miss it a little.
Go read Registan. He's also got some really good pictures of Parwan Province in an earlier post. If we're lucky, maybe he'll post some pictures of Tag Ab. Maybe he'll even get up into the Panjshir and take some pictures there. I exchanged an email with Mr. Foust this evening and asked him to pass along a message to Colonel Jhala if he sees him. I hope he does. I miss that guy; he was one of the good ones.
Nostalgia. It really wasn't that long ago.