The Mongol Hoard
One of the pleasures of being in Kabul at the various military compounds is being around so many of the allied and coalition forces that are here supporting the war effort and the country building in Afghanistan. NATO is here in force and a number of other European countries trying to get into NATO. We've got Macedonia here, Albania, and other countries providing representatives to this effort. Trying to recognize each country from its camo uniforms is difficult; so many look alike that it's hard to differentiate.
The smaller contingents aren't providing combat soldiers, however. They're mostly gathered at the headquarters elements and compounds here in the Kabul region. They're contributing to the war effort, but they're also contributing to the overcrowded conditions here.
One of the countries providing troops is Mongolia. When they first arrived, small squads of Mongolian Army soldiers marched around in formation with all of their "battle rattle," helmets, weapons, body armor, and new uniforms. American and British soldiers only armor up if they're going outside the wire, so to speak. It didn't take long for the Mongolians to get a feel for how Americans fight their wars. The helmets have come off in favor of soft caps, I have to elbow my way into the chow halls now where Mongolians have discovered good American mess hall food, and now I have to elbow my way into the MWR building where the common use computers are located.
The Mongolians now have discovered Facebook, Yahoo Mail, Skype, and other social networking sites. Because none of them have their own laptops, unlike every American soldier, airman, sailor, and marine who is here, they use the common use computers here at MWR. They may not fire their weapons alongside Americans while serving time here in Afghanistan, but these Mongolians certainly will go home better oriented to the American lifestyle and culture than when they first came. Long live Facebook...