Humiliated by a Humvee

One part of the resentment I mentioned before is the regular humiliation Afghans suffer for the sake of the American’s and NATO’s own safety.

Several times while driving through Kunar we had to slow to a crawl or drive off the road completely when we came across a US military convoy. The hulking bloody great big mustard-yellow trucks, or MRAPS,  lumber along the roads, four or more of them evenly spread out, machine guns swivelling around on top of them, surveying the long line of cars that form up behind them. They move about as fast as a tractor pulling a load of hay, and are even more difficult to overtake. In fact unless you want to get shot at they are impossible to overtake. If you meet them coming the other way you get off the road as quickly as you can, and hold your breath while they pass.

Stuck behind one such convoy, a load of Afghan National Police pick-ups came speeding up in a hurry. They too were forced to wait for several miles until the US convoy pulled off; a particularly visible demonstration of their impotence and of whose cock of the roost.

Outside US military bases traffic again comes to a standstill. The checkpoints are manned by Afghans, so if there is an attack they’re the ones who’ll take the flack. Not defending their country but doing the donkey work of defending the foreign forces. The resentment in the eyes of the waiting taxi drivers speaks volumes.

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