04 February 2015

A boom goes off in Afghanistan. Does anyone hear about it?

Chances are, if you are not currently in Afghanistan, you didn’t hear about the boom. Before I dive any further into this, I want to clarify that it is not an attack on anyone except maybe American media outlets.

My current assignment has me behind a desk observing every activity in Afghanistan for media engagement. This comes in the form of stories, tweets (yes they use Twitter in Afghanistan), Facebook posts (Kabul Security Now is the best one we have found), or YouTube video stories.

Each day varies regarding the amount of activity but on any given day, there are around 30 different events. IED strikes, direct dire on the border control zone, complex attacks, and the list goes on. 
Unfortunately, most people have no idea that anything is still going on in Afghanistan, except for the occasional story about service members coming home.

I see many people criticize that we are still here in Afghanistan. The Afghans should be able to stand on their own by now. The fact is that they do stand on their own in many cases, but it comes at a large cost. They are out day and night, fighting in multiple types of environments. They always come out on top, but they suffer heavy losses. We serve as the “hype man” in the back, making sure they have what they need. Gone are the days of ISAF-led patrols. If service members leave the “wire” now, it is on a movement request between ISAF and IJC or the New Kabul Compound - except for SF, they still do what they do. Outside of that, most will never see what outside the barriers looks like, unless they are flying from base to base.

With the drawdown in the coalition presence, it would make sense that media attention would have tapered off. There’s only one problem with that - we are still over here losing great men and women. Just recently, we lost 2 American service members. I scoured the news, and to my surprise, there were very few articles. It did not garner the attention that I feel it deserved. I am no glory hog, and I know that we join to selflessly serve our country, but I feel that it is not too much to ask to let our country know that this man or woman gave their life for something bigger than themselves. We are over here ensuring that Afghanistan will not become Iraq part 2, and that requires that some of us be put in harm’s way. We all signed the dotted line knowing that.

Before I start to taper off and lose focus, I will bring it back to the main point of this post. The media serves as the middle man between the world and what is happening around it. With technology progressing faster than you can blink, we can access information at an incredible rate. With all the access we have to platforms to share information, what is the harm of informing the world that there is still a war in Afghanistan that people are giving their lives for every day?

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