I’m fairly certain that this is not an “antiquity” of Afghanistan. However, I’ve carried it in and out of Afghanistan several times since I bought in the bazaar at Bagram Airfield in November of 2003. It’s a sort of totem. My bringer of fortune. I had it with me at Bagram, Camp Eggers, Camp Phoenix, Camp Stone and Camp Alamo. I’ll probably have Unny Fed Ex it to me when I get back to Camp Eggers.
I’ve never seen another bust like it in any of the other bazaars. I’ve been to quite a few of them. I suppose it is a one of a kind. It does have that look as if it was sliced off of some larger piece. As if at one time it had a body and wasn’t just shoulder and head.
I’ve flown out of Afghanistan with it several times. The Customs and Border Police have stopped me each time and asked me; “Is this old? Is it antiquity? Where did you get it?” The first time, I told them that I bought it at the bazaar at Bagram. Later, I lied and told them that I purchased it in Thailand.
Who knows? Perhaps I have a genuine piece of ancient art on my hands. I seriously doubt it, though.
The bust has had many admirers over the years and I’ve been offered various amounts from folks to hand it over. I can’t do it. It’s the first thing that I bought in Afghanistan. If I have my way, it’ll be the last thing that I ever hold and it will accompany me to the grave. It’s been with me for nearly a decade now. Hopefully, it will be with me in life another 40 years and then it will rest with me in eternity.
Unny will keep it for me while I’m in Afghanistan this time. It’s fortune will shine upon her and our endeavors in the Land of Smiles as I find new fortune back in my old haunt.
Camp Phoenix has never been mortared. It’s never been rocketed. Not while I was there. Not while I was at Camp Eggers and not in the past 3 years. I’d know. I lived at Camp Phoenix for one year. I lived on Camp Eggers for a year as well and visited Phoenix frequently. I’ve been to Camp Phoenix several times over the past 3 years as well. I have friends at Camp Phoenix right now. One who has been there for 3 years.
Camp Phoenix has never been a training base for Afghans either. Not the ANA or the ANP. There are two Camps about ten miles down the road called Camp Blackhorse and the Kabul Military Training Complex (KMTC). Afghans are trained there. Afghans are trained at Darulaman and there are 2 or three ANP training bases within and around Kabul on which ANP are trained.
I see this happening all the time. The Associated Press (AP) picks up a story written by some idiot who never leaves the safe confines of his hotel room or villa in Shahr-e Naw or Wazir Akhbar Khan. These morons report as if they are on the scene. They mix up place and location. They hack together stories based on second hand information and pawn it off on the public as gospel truth. The guy who wrote this story should be fired. He printed a hand full of lies and sent it in as if he had actually visited the places about which he wrote. A bunch of older hacks will probably award this poltroon a Pulitzer and they’ll all sit around in a smoke filled chamber and congratulate each other on their bravery and literary brilliance.
I’ve seen this kind of irresponsible writing of lies and half truths all over the globe. Korea when Kim Il Sung died. When Qandahar was attacked. In Kabul after various attacks. In Herat after suicide bombings. From whom do these morons obtain their “facts?” Dr. Suess? The Brothers Grimm? Hanna- Barbera? Does anyone back home in America fact check or edit their hotel room ramblings?
I read the newspaper and online journals and I often wonder if these folks are even in country. What happened to reporting from the front? These guys are reporting from the whorehouse or from the tea parlor. They’re definitely NOT on the scene. Not here in Afghanistan. I can assure you of that.