I left Afghanistan late on 22 April, returning to Okinawa for a brief period, then moving to Texas and a new assignment.
My last image of Kabul was a small group of kids with big smiles…the girls were waving and the boys were giving us the “thumbs up.” I like to think they believed things were getting better — slowly of course, but better — and appreciated our help. But to this day, I wonder.
In Afghanistan, a “thumbs up” is notoriously hard to interpret. Those who wish us well use it, because they’ve learned it means “excellent” in America. But those who wish us ill use it too, because traditionally, it’s an obscene gesture.
Maybe they were just being ironic…
Bottom line: To the kids of Afghanistan, farewell. And fare well!