Friends and Family,


This will be my last “Afghan Update” as I leave Kabul on 1 Nov and fly back to the states out of Manas Kyrgyzstan on 5 Nov.  I wanted to end with an uplifting and encouraging sign of our mission here and tell you about kite flying in Afghanistan.



Some of you may have read “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and know that kite flying was a national pastime until it was banned by the Taliban (if you have not read the book, I recommend it).  After the Taliban were removed in Dec 01, kite flying did not resurge quickly – it has taken some time and is only now again becoming what could be considered an Afghan pastime.



What makes kite flying interesting in Afghanistan is that this is not simply about putting a kite up in the wind and watching / controlling it… this is about dominance of the sky!  Kite strings are carefully prepared to cut other kite strings--the string is prepared by crushing glass and gluing the ground glass onto the string--so that with some careful maneuvering, a good kite flyer can sever the other kite flyers from their kites.  Once severed, the free flying kite is available to whoever can chase it down.  A chaser is called a “kite runner.”



If it is not too hot, and the conditions are fair, Fridays (the Islamic “weekend”) are often passed with kite flying.  The open area of a nearby cemetery serves as a battlefield for kite flyers.  Note in the photos the gender of the people in the photos… all male.  Women are not allowed at such activities.


PHOTOS:  I’ve included some photos Omid (my interpreter) took for me on a weekend in early October (during Ramazan).


1)  Father and son flying a kite

2)  Kite makers and Kite Runners.

3)  Men flying kites in Kabul

4)  Kite Fight

5)  Nadir Shah Tomb & Mosque (Afghan King 1929-1933)

6)  Omid flying a kite

7)  Kites over Kabul

8)  Kabul Sunset

9)  LTC Vic Hearne, Col Mike Therrien, & Lt Col Bill Cooley shortly after 19 Oct 2005 awards ceremony at Office of Security Cooperation – Afghanistan.


This assignment has been difficult due to the separation from family… but very rewarding on a personal and professional level.  Working with the Afghan Minister of Defense and his staff, establishing the processes and procedures they will use in the future, and most importantly building genuine relationships with the people of Afghanistan not only directly impacts National Security Policy, but has been personally rewarding.  I will miss the Afghans I worked with and hope to return to this beautiful country some day as a tourist.


Please pray for our mission here, for the leadership in Afghanistan, and most importantly, the people of Afghanistan.


Hope you are all doing well and I look forward to returning to the states and seeing many of you.  God Speed and God Bless






Program Manager, Afghan Defense Sector

Directorate of Program Integration (DPI)

Office of Military Cooperation - Afghanistan (OMC-A)