|ANA soldiers during a training program in Camp Leatherneck|
I was stuck in Camp Leatherneck on the way to Marjah, The night before I asked PAO for any event inside Leatherneck and a Marine woman told me that it will be a training day for ANA and I can cover it. I woke up in morning of May 19 when the speaker was talking about alert.
When I was going to the PAO center, three racket were fired from Leatherneck to somewhere. I arrived to training center and start my job. ANA soldiers were in really good mood with a high spirit. They sounds a bit more professional compare to other training centers. I went for lunch with them to talk more about what they think about Afghanistan and its future!
I was surprised, they thought that Bin Laden story was fake and believed that USA has made it up. One of them asked me If it was real then why they did not show any video and any photo?
One of them who was a Pashtoun nationality told me that he believes Mulla Omar is a fake name which USA made it to be here in this country and another ANA who was from Badakhshan said “No, Mulla Omar is existed he is our enemy and we should fight with him”.
I went to their tent, a big tent with AC and beds. When I start talking about what Taliban are doing to this country, the leather of that unit, who was a young Pashtoun from Kabul was trying to change the conversation! He was telling me that Taliban are not that bad as US people tell to the world. He said “ Taliban do not kill the journalists if they now them, look at Aljazeera”. He was trying to make me understand that Taliban are fighting for freedom and all NATO country are here to steal our mines and our money?!!
The first question in my mind was: How they can fight against Taliban when they don't know them enough?
A US trainer came to our tent and asked me to leave the tent. He told me that the camp is 'locked down' and I have to stay with them. It was a alert situation. I wet with him inside a Marine tent but as it was a bit hot inside I came out and start smoking in a shadow. A marine came to me from inside tent and told me that he has to search me, it was a bit insulting for me. If they let me come in as an embed journalist then why they want to search me again? I was living leatherneck for a week. They may think that I might have some thing to explode myself???!!!
I had to let him but he never answers my question. After an hour I called PAO to send me a car and drive me back to my tent and while I was waiting for the car outside of training center, another angry marine came to me and first of all asked me: “Did you take picture of our gate” and I said no and again asked me who are you and I show my ID and I told him: I was inside your training center and I was taking picture and making report, no one told you that I am embed with Marines and he just told OK and left. I'm sure whoever in this situation would be angry but I had to not complain as I am an Afghan passport holder and I felt that they can easily jail me!! :(
Finally, we flight to Marjah on 20th and we informed that Taliban fired racket on 19 stations in all Marjah and the reason that they scared a lot it was Taliban attack and they searched me because I am from Afghanistan and they don't trust us.
I don't judge but I write my personal feeling.
Now, I lost six days of my embed and I still could not go patrolling with them as I arrived last night here?!!
Taliban announced that they have started their Spring operation and these attckes are the result but an ANA major general told us that Taliban became so week and they are losing in Helmand and to show that they are still alive, they attack with racket but never able to fight face to face with ANA.
And few minutes ago two suicide attackers entered the biggest military hospital and killed several people. this count as Taliban Spring operation and no one knows how they could go inside while there is a heavy searching in the gate. :(