Heat. Dust. Loneliness. Lack of sleep. Frustration. Just anther day in Operation Enduring Freedom. Like all soldiers with months of training: we wait for combat. and wait. eat. and wait. and wait. poop. and wait. Listen to some high level brass send down a memo talking about how proud he is of us for spreading democracy. or whatever. oh, yeah…Hoorah! and wait. and wait. Then, for a brief second in time, you engage enemy combatants. You know…the bad guys. Balkh Province was no exception. Almost.

I was one of six Special Forces soldiers sent in to assist the Northern Alliance forces in capturing the village of Keshendeh. After 2 days of bombing and attacks by Uzbek faction’s horse-mounted troops, most of the Taliban headed for the hills or died trying. No one expected the Taliban to leave their women behind. Women who fought more fiercely than any man I’ve seen . We had to fight them door to door. Taking more casualties than we could afford to. They were fearless. Neither alive. Nor dead. Zombies. In burqas.

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