We are finally out of the country. After 21 days. I’m sitting at the gate in Dubai typing this. It’s politically not correct to say, but when I was flying in to this filthy rich country shortly after 11.00 a.m. and I could see the well paved roads, the traffic, the high rises, I was just very glad to be back in “civilisation”.
We knew we could have trouble getting from the military terminal in Kabul first to the military main gate, which is a few kilometres down the runway, and then after passing through the security check point manned by the Belgian paras, getting onwards travel to Kabul International, the civillian part of the airport.
Pretending to work at Kabul International Airport. Relieved to have reached the first base (Foto: Heimken)
It has only just sunk in: I’m in Afghanistan and I’m with the military, going on an embed. It hit me hard whilst sitting on a bunk bed in an air conditioned tent full of US marines, US army and British soldiers and their gear. This is real, and Axel, the photographer, and I are complete rookies in this biz. Glad to have him with me though, may I say.
We touched down at Kabul International at 06:40, landing with the Afghan carrier Safi Air on a misty morning. I hadn’t slept at all since we left Frankfurt at 15:20 with Emirates flying to Dubai and landing there close to midnight – getting hit by 38 degrees Celsius leaving the aircraft.
The malls in the terminal were nicely air conditioned though. We sipped on a café latte from Costa, talking about our plans of what we might be able to cover in the three weeks in Afghanistan. To be honest we didn’t really have a clue what we were in for.