Prostitution wasn’t rampant on the bases in Afghanistan. It was there, though. The running joke was the “Thirty Five Dollar Haircut.” The Army and Air Force Exchange Service or AAFES (Ay-feez) ran a Beauty Salon at the Post Exchange (PX) complex on Bagram Airfield (BAF). All of the girls who worked there were from Bishkek or Karshi Khanabad in the Kyrgyz Republic. Some of them were beautiful. You could get a haircut, a manicure, pedicure or a massage. For a month or so in early 2004, you could get a blow job. All you had to do was walk in and ask for the 35$ hair cut. Of course, it was illegal. As soon as they caught the girls, they fired them and sent them home.
At about the same time, the Army caught a young, pretty Airman selling it for fifty bucks a pop. This girl was caught in an affair with a married guy. He found out about some extracurricular activities of hers and he wasn’t happy. She was prostituting herself out. These two had a knock down drag out fight over it. The Chain of Command got wind of it and investigated. When the affair was revealed, they sent the couple home for a court martial proceeding. Instead of letting the couple pack their bags, they sent them straight to the flight line. The female Airman kept demanding to be allowed to go back to her hooch to grab her “personal gear.” She was so insistent that her Chain of Command went to her room and conducted a search. In Afghanistan, the authorities do not need a search warrant. There’s no due process. You’re already in prison. They can pretty much do as they please. While searching her room, they found her “personal gear.” Under her mattress in a package was over fifteen thousand dollars. They also found several boxes of condoms. It was mostly fifty dollar bills. This gal had only been there for three months and had amassed fifteen thousand dollars. Fifty bucks at a time. You do the math.
It took a while for the Army to finish it’s investigation on this Airman. When they finished, the story came out on the operation. This girl actually advertised through her customers. She would leave a sock outside her door. If the sock was on the door, she was busy with someone. No sock and you simply knocked, walked in and handed her fifty bucks. She was doing everyone — Marines, Soldiers, Enlisted, Officers, Contractors. If you could come up with fifty bucks, it was on. I was told that there were lines outside her door at times. How in the hell did that go on for three months with no one noticing?
In 2006, I was living on Camp Phoenix. At the time, I worked for ManTech Inc. I would go to the Beauty Salon once a week to get a massage. I always got the same girl because the others were too brutal. One week, I show up and my girl isn’t there. So I ask Oksana, the manager, where she was. Oksana tells me that she had to send her home. When I asked why, she wouldn’t tell me. I thought that was funny but no big deal.
Later that day, I found out what happened. About two weeks earlier, there was a chlymidia epidemic. Some guy had brought it back from his leave. He went to the medical station to get it fixed. A few days later, a couple of guys came in with the same problem. Later, more still came in. Then the girls started showing up. All of them with chylimida. I think they may have had gonorrhea as well.
The Army decided to investigate the mini-outbreak. They discovered that the girls who worked at the beauty salon were prostituting. I don’t know how much it was, but, it was all going well until that one guy brought back his STDs and passed them on to one of the girls. It spread like wildfire from that point.
Apparently, none of these guys or gals had discovered the benefits of condoms. I’m sure that there were more involved. The guys who came in for STDs were all disciplined under the UCMJ. The girls were all sent back home. The beauty salon hired new girls.
After that incident, the Army made the beauty salon girls move to a safe house Kabul. None of them could live on the bases in or around Kabul anymore.
Here’s some irony for ya. General Order #1 prohibits sexual intercourse in the war zone. Yet, every PX on every base in Afghanistan is always stocked with condoms. Huh?
***I am not saying that all Kyrgyz women are prostitutes or whores. That was simply the nationality of the girls in these particular incidents.***