One Day in Afghanistan

taliban-fighters“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans…” Joint statement of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-CA) and  ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (OK) – May 31, 2014.

***

Somewhere in Wardak province, Afghanistan. Dusk. Two Taliban scouts, Khaseb and Omar, are squatting behind a ridge overlooking a small US Army outpost. 

Khaseb: “…so she says to me, I don’t care if you go…Can you believe it? Like I’m no good to her after the poppies are harvested. Anyway, what are you going to do? Fighting season couldn’t come soon enough this year.”

Omar: “I know, right? I used to be like poppies first, jihad second. But now, I don’t know. The last three or four years, I’ve been thinking…”

Khaseb (interupting): “Hey! Look! The Americans are out on foot patrol again!”

Omar: “No shit! So close to dark?”

Khaseb: “Hey! Whaddya say we kidnap one?”

Omar: “Are you kidding? You know how much Americans eat? Keeping an American hostage is crazy expensive. Plus, the Americans will never negotiate with us to get one of their soldiers back.”

Khaseb: “DUDE! Haven’t you heard? The Americans are totally negotiating with us now!”

Omar: “No way! The Americans? They say they never negotiate with ‘terrorists’  (Both laugh). Plus, the American government’s words always match their deeds! Except for when they’re talking about torture, or spying on themselves, or how if you like your health care plan you can keep it.”

Khaseb: “What? What in the name of Allah the most merciful is health care?”

Omar: “I don’t know. Just something I heard. So wait, Obama will negotiate with us now?”

Khaseb: “Yes! He’s bargaining like a rug salesman in Kabul…Guess how many Talibs he traded for one Army sergeant?”

Omar: “Two.”

Khaseb: “Keep going.”

Omar: “Three.”

Khaseb: “Here’s a hint: how many Pillars of Islam?”

Omar: “Obama traded FIVE Talibs for ONE SERGEANT?”

Khaseb: “This is what I’m saying. Exciting, huh? Makes me feel all…what’s the word?”

Omar: “Emboldened?”

Khaseb: “Yeah! I’m totally emboldened. FIve talibs for one guy! It’s a huge emboldening! (throws his hands up excitedly) Whoo!”

Omar and Khaseb go to high five, then realize awkwardly that they are supposed to be hiding.

Khaseb: “So, what do you say? Should we nab one?”

Omar: “Yes! Kidnapping one of their soldiers will destroy American morale!”

Khaseb: “Well, I don’t know about that…”

Omar: “What do you mean? We will crush the American spirit with his ordeal! Americans love their soldiers! Don’t you ever listen to their ‘country music?'”

Khaseb: “What?! No!…Does HARAM mean anything to you? Anyway, this last one – most Americans had never heard of him until last week. We had him for five years and they didn’t even notice!”

Omar: “You’re kidding! Maybe he should have kicked Jay-Z’s ass in an elevator.. (Khaseb looks at him quizzically). Still, if we capture one, we could get five more of our brothers released. It will be glorious!”

Khaseb: “No way! There’s going to be congressional hearings and investigations, and the mid-term elections coming up. Obama’s not going to do a deal like this again.”

There’s a long pause as the two men consider their options. The excitement has abated.

Omar: “So, what, Obama is just going to keep using those flying death robots on us now?”

Khaseb: “Probably. He LOVES those things. I guess he never had toy planes when he was a boy in Nairobi.”

Omar: “Hey — I have an idea! While the Americans are out on patrol, let’s go raid the base and steal their weapons! We will chase them out of our country once and for all!”

Khaseb: “I dunno. It’s pretty risky. Plus, the Americans already said they’re leaving. We can just wait and take their weapons when they’re gone. That’s what they did in Iraq. And in Libya. Even in Mali. Seems safer that way.”

Omar: “I don’t get it. The only place Americans DON’T want us to have their weapons is in Syria? They didn’t used to be so picky. My uncle still has the crate for a Stinger missile launcher in his garage.”

Khaseb: “Yeah, my dad used his as a coffee table. Nice green color. Went good with the rug…so, what should we do?”

Omar: “I’m feeling a whole lot less emboldened than I was a few minutes ago.”

Khaseb: “Yeah, I was feeling emboldened, too — but now I’m disemboldened. Or deemboldened. Whatever. It’s not worth it.”

Omar (sighs): “Hey, you got a cigarette?”

Khaseb: “Dude! HARAM!”

Omar: “You know, for Taliban, you’re not much fun.”

<scene>

 

 

 

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