Quil Lawrence covers the men of Tarok Kolache surveying the rubble that used to be their homes.
Hajji Rozi Muhammad, the white-haired landowner, says there were 200 pomegranate trees here until the Americans bombed and bulldozed the orchard.
It’s clear this was a battlefield. Muhammad points to bullet and shrapnel scars on the surviving trees. His house in Tarook Kalacha also was destroyed; in fact the Americans have built a base right on top of where it sat, he says.
“Of course, I’m very disappointed and very angry,” says Muhammad. “This was the income of my family. We were just feeding our kids with that, our family with that.”
It’s a remarkable story. The ISAF spokesman is all smiles, while the villagers are sad, even angry over what happened (though they do not really directly blame the Americans for what happened). There’s not much new here, and no mention of the Afghan Local Police cell LTC Flynn was so “up” about.
No, what I find interesting about this is very simple: when you drop the affect, and stop trying to spin a lion’s tale out of Kandahar, what happened at Tarok Kolache was not triumph… but tragedy. Even if everything somehow turns out okay, and every one is happy in the end, it doesn’t make what happened okay. And that is why I remain so appalled: not necessarily at what happened, though that remains shocking. But how those around it tried to make it seem like something it wasn’t.