‘Dispatch: Afghanistan’ Tracks Counterinsurgency Campaign

BY Larisa Epatko  July 20, 2010 at 5:26 PM EST

Our partners at GlobalPost have a team of reporters on the ground in Afghanistan this summer, covering Afghan and U.S. military activities during this crucial point in the war.

In one dispatch, Kevin Sites reports on a firefight that ensued when the Taliban fired upon a private security convoy shuttling supplies to a U.S. military base in southern Afghanistan.

“The gun battle lasted nearly an hour and a half with ANA (Afghan National Army) soldiers and armed contractors from the private Afghan security firm known as Compass, shooting light machines guns from the hip, Rambo-style and indiscriminately, across a wide open field where the initial Taliban attack began,” he writes.

In a series of photos, Ben Brody illustrates how gunners patrolling the streets of Kandahar are exposed to everything from enemy fire — to rotten fruit — from their positions atop military vehicles.

In another post, Ben Gilbert describes a resupply mission to Helmand Province, north of Marjah, with regularly scheduled service that not only earns it the nickname “Greyhound,” but allows the sergeant in charge to hone his mission brief to an art:

“He recites the mission brief from memory. It’s the most amusing brief I’ve ever seen. His deadpan style of speaking about such topics as IEDs (improvised explosive devices), or roadside bombs, medical helicopter evacuations and rules of engagement are as colorful as they are informative,” writes Gilbert.

The GlobalPost correspondents also are reporting on day-to-day activities of the military, including filling bags with “moon dust” to reinforce their guard towers, and the unenviable task of disposing of waste in the “burn pit.”

We’ll highlight their reporting each week here on the Rundown, and you can see all of their reports on their “Dispatches: Afghanistan” blog.