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Jeff's Afghan Diary: Ready to Go; Ready to Stay
April 10, 2007

      We have been waiting for our relief to get here.  We were ordered to leave, and just as we were ready to leave, we were ordered to remain in place.  It’s maddening.

      We have been anxious to leave and get some rest - the long hours without a day off have started to take their toll, and our tempers are getting a little short.  We have run out of paper plates, plastic silverware, and even trash bags.  We use aluminum foil on pieces of cardboard for plates, lick our silverware clean and wipe it off for its next use, and use boxes for trash.  (There is a local boy we have on hire who takes care of clean up and trash - he takes the trash out and burns it for us.  We have asked him to bring the boxes back for reuse for our trash.  He’s a good kid - he practices English with us.  He is 15 years old.)

      We have heard radio reports that the Taliban have surrounded a British unit somewhere in the vicinity of Kandahar.  It’s unbelievable to me - they have become besieged.  I learn that Afghans do not like the British, mostly because of their past history.  So this is a propaganda coup for the Taliban.

      The promised Spring Offensive of the Taliban appears to have begun.  Under these circumstances, we are to remain where we are.

      Geopolitically, ABP forces have had some recent skirmishes with Pakistan border police as well.  We are pretty close to the Pakistan border, and reported an incident to our higher command a few days ago.  As if it wasn’t enough for us to have to worry about the Taliban, now we have to worry about cross-border warring as well.

      Yet our little piece of the world is still peaceful and serene, as if there were no hint of conflict anywhere else in the world.  It’s a strange juxtaposition, one I hope stays in place as long as we are here.

      We have been told that Pakistan and Afghan officials want to have a meeting to resolve some of this tension.  Pakistan itself has just been threatened by the Taliban, and has invited the United States to help.  Both countries are allies with us in our War on Terrorism, so the US is caught in the middle.

      And here we sit, our small group ready to defend ourselves if necessary.  Ready to be sent back to Waza Khwa and end this particular mission.  Ready to go, ready to stay.  Ready for anything.

-- Jeff Courter

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Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2005).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.