The Marine Corps has had a presence in Afghanistan since the 9/11 attacks on US Soil. Most recently, in the spring of 2008 the USMC increased its presence in response to a request for additional forces from the NATO- International Security Assistance Force. The USMC continues to maintain the initiative against the Taliban.
The majority of Afghanistan areas the Marines deploy to are without chow halls, hooches, showers, or shopping facilities. The living conditions vary from location to location, and whether or not the unit is located outside the wire. Many areas have “inside the wire” facilities for down time, but missions are carried out throughout the country, outside the wire.
When you send packages, remember that storage space in most locations in Afghanistan may be minimal and/or your Marine may move frequently. Therefore, keep your packages small, but send them frequently. Access to email or phones will most likely be scarce. Do not let a lack of communication cause you additional worry. It does not mean anything except that those amenities are scarce.
To assure operations security (OpSEC), your Marine should not share his/her exact location with you and you should not ask. It will only make your Marine very uncomfortable to have you asking questions that s/he is forbidden from answering. Instead of asking the name of the camp or location, ask your Marine what amenities s/he has available. This will help you determine what types of items to send in care packages and what type of calling cards can be used. When you get a call your Marine will most appreciate the chance to catch up on happenings at home.
If you know your Marine’s camp name, you should not share it with others in written, verbal or online communication.
Some basic information about the country follows:
Afghanistan - Middle East
Capital - Kabul
Climate - Dry with cold winters and hot summers. Mountains and deserts.
Language - Dari (Afghan Persian), Pashto (Afghan Farsi), Tajik, Turkic
Population - 31,056,997 (2006) **Although, over 5 million have returned since the removal of Taliban.
Religion - Sunni Muslim 80% Shi'a Muslim 19% and other 1%
Government -Islamic Republic
Independence - August 19, 1919
Constitution - January 4, 2004
Branches - Executive--President (Chief of State) Legislative--Bicameral National Assembly (Wolesi Jirga (lower house)--249 seats, Meshrano Jirga (upper house)--102 seats) Judicial--Supreme Court, High Courts, and Appeals Courts