Things have been really busy here. I’ve been traveling throughout the Kabul area, and visited Herat, near the Iranian border last week. I’ll be out of contact again for several weeks as I travel, so don’t be alarmed by the delay in getting the next update. I traveled to Herat with my Afghan counterpart, Shamsudin, my boss, and several others from our Afghan leadership team to see the operations there near the border. It was a great trip, and I only wish that I could have spent time in the town, instead of just at the military facilities. There are some beautiful places and historic sites, that unfortunately we just can’t experience. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return in 10 years and enjoy a bit more than barbed wire and military chow. The photo is of me and my traveling companions at the airport in Herat, hoping our trip back to Kabul wouldn’t be canceled.

The bad guys have gotten testy lately, as the NATO forces have shut down many operations. It appears they’re under pressure to attack, and they haven’t been terribly successful. To step up the attacks, one would be suicide bomber attempted to attack our nearby base, Camp Phoenix last week. As he hit the main gate, his vehicle failed to detonate. Before he could connect a secondary detonation cord, “Rambo”, an Afghan fixture at the front gate, pulled him out of the car and handed him over to US authorities. Rambo’s family was killed by the Taliban, and since Camp Phoenix opened, he has volunteered to stand guard daily at the front gate. We finally gave him a uniform this year and stared paying him a stipend. Several US Soldiers stand with him every day, and he assists in looking out for the unusual, and in putting an Afghan face on our efforts here. He’s always supported the US, and has felt he owed a debt for our exiling the Taliban. Last week he repaid that debt. The car was packed with 250 pounds of explosives, and 10 US Soldiers were nearby as he thwarted the bomber. After the area was cleared, the bomb did detonate, and the entire front gate was destroyed, with the blast shaking my office 5 miles away. His actions were captured on tape, and the US is considering how to best reward him for the lives he saved.

Everything’s fine here, and our tour is starting to wind down (about 100 days left in-country). Thanks again for the support, care packages and prayers. If you’ve missed updates you’d like to read, surf to www.jonsingleton.com to read past updates, see the pictures and to post comments. Feel free to forward this to anyone who may be interested. If an email of your’s is kicked back by my SPAM filter, just resend with the word “ADD” in the subject line, and I’ll receive it. Raise a cup of Starbuck’s for me, and I’ll hurry home.