K sent me a quick story to share with everyone today. Hopefully in future stories, he’ll send pictures too (nudge, nudge…).
A shura is a meeting of Afghan elders. My 3rd day here, LT. F. grabbed me to go to a Shura. Our interpreter is “Uncle Moe.” He is a naturalized US citizen from California, about 60 years old and a great guy. The Kandak Commander had called for a meeting of the elders of a village. They had a young man in their village putting in IEDs and he was mad at them. He wanted US Soldiers there.
The elders were right out of a bad movie. Crazy beards, sandals, huge turbans and most over 60 years old. Two were missing an eye a piece. The Kandak CDR (that’s an Afghan Battalion by the way) harangued them for about 35 minutes. Shouting and gesturing etc. Very animated—they shouted and so forth. He told them they were not true Muslims for allowing such things. Finally he got very very quiet and it scared me too. The result was a document was handwritten saying that they supported the Government and would behave. They put their thumbprints on it and walked out.
We then had lunch. Rice, chicken, naan and an orange. The mood was light and there were many jokes including the Kandak Commander joking that some of them were Taliban because their businesses were so successful.
The whole scene, if filmed by Hollywood, would have seemed cheesy and forced and stereotypical. It was a fine drama and I enjoyed myself too much. I had to refrain from smiling and laughing. The US Soldiers were really just a prop and I did my best to look tough and no nonsense.
Thanks, K! Looking forward to more of your observations and stories.