Michael's Dispatches

Battlefield Forensics


Apparent gunshot.


Always interesting to check their shoes.  Haqqani fighters and serious Taliban typically use footwear that fits, and that they can run in.  In the surrounding villages, you’ll see that nearly everyone either wears sandals (that are not fit for running) or ill-fitting shoes.  Often the shoes are too small, and so they wear them like sandals by crushing the shoe heels with their heels.  At building doorways, or at certain types of meetings, you might see dozens of pairs of shoes outside.  If that’s in a village, the footwear typically will be sandals or ill-fitting shoes.  At a more upscale meeting, the shoes will fit but will not be running or sport shoes.  If you come to a village building in southern Afghanistan and there are a dozen pairs of sport shoes by the door—place your weapon on FIRE and prepare for battle.


As per normal, these guys had shoes, or sandals in this case, suitable for running.


How did this guy get burned?


Appeared to have a couple holes in his back.  As it happens, this was the last Taliban killed, they said.  They said it was by RPG; if so, it must have mostly missed, but the firefights are confusing, and the translations are even more confusing.


He was tough to roll over due to the rigor mortis.


The forensics team wanted to look at the third guy, and the Afghan helper started to kick him over like a sack of flour.  “Hey, hey, hey!  Don’t do that!”  The forensics guys didn’t like seeing the body kicked over and protested.  Enemy or not, something is wrong with that.


“Stop!”  The American forensics man told the policeman several times to stop but the policeman just looked confused and kept pushing the body over with his foot.  At least we have an idea of what he thinks about the Taliban.

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