I’ve witnessed the U.S. military’s interaction with Iraqis and Afghans during several embeds with different units both in Iraq and Afghanistan, my latest embed with the U.S. Marines’ 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in Helmand province was quite an experience.
I was told by an officer that they had a mission the next day to deliver snacks to a village called Deveelak on the second day of Eid al-Fitr celebrations.
Before leaving the camp, I saw soldiers loading boxes of chips, muffins and milk onto their armored vehicles. Each of the Marines practiced how many stacks of boxes they could carry for the upcoming trek.
We traveled in a convoy of armored vehicles from the camp to a location less than an hour away.
I anticipated seeing a crowd of people waiting for us to distribute the snacks.
We arrived in a remote place and the Marines carried snack boxes and hiked approximately 30 minutes to a location beside a small mosque where two elderly Afghans sat.