I drove around Kabul most of the day today. There is a considerable amount of building and new business in the city compared to my last visit in March 2002. The neighborhood, from the backside of the TV tower all the way to the King's Palace, is considerably more populated now, decades after the factional war between the mujahadeen tore apart those neighborhoods. Our local driver says that the the city is over four million people, compared to a million or so at the close of the Taliban regime. ISAF patrols (Norwegian, German and British) continue to criss-cross the city. And we drove down the busy Jalalabad Road as well, the location of both suicide bombs a few days ago.
Yesterday I met and interviewed Afghan Defense Minister Wardok at the Afghan Ministry of Defense. Besides practical reasons to have western weapons, Minister Wardok makes a emotional appeal for US/Nato weapons to replace the Soviet/Russian arms currently in the Afghan National Army (ANA) arsenal, insisting the AK, PK and RPG are the arms of Afghanistan's recent violent past and it is time for a change.