These are from a patrol with the American PRT. We went out for a full day of visits to several development projects.
The U.S. PRT’s engineering representative stops to talk to the Afghan engineer on a road expansion project. Part of the goal that day was to inform Afghans with shops along the road that in addition to billions of dollars in aid, the Americans had also brought with them the concept of eminent domain. Those in the way were told they’d have to move so that the Kabul-Kandahar highway could go from two lanes to four.
The Americans spent a significant amount of time in the market that day. One soldier took the opportunity to get some shopping done – he cleared out all the eggs, onions, peppers and potatoes from a single surprised shopkeeper. The soldiers cook on hot pots in their rooms (anything to avoid chow hall food). The Afghans get really excited and happy when they see PRT soldiers coming their way. Little kids swarmed all over us saying “Give me something!”— the one phrase they know in English.
Of course when you don’t give them something, they often reveal the other English phrase they know, “Fu*k You.”
These men wanted their picture taken as well. The one on the left spoke a few words in English. He asked me to bring him a copy of the picture and I told him his English was very good. He proudly said he is studying from a book, and pointed to his electronics shop to let me know where I could find him when I came back to give him his picture.