March 13, 2005
INSTAPUNDIT'S AFGHANISTAN PHOTO CORRESPONDENT, Major John Tammes, has come to the end of his deployment. That's good news for him, but bad news for InstaPundit readers, as his photos and reports have provided a view of Afghanistan that Big Media folks haven't. (And they've wound up in some big media outlets!) Please join me in thanking him for his service to the nation, to the world, and to the blogosphere. Meanwhile, here's his final report:
I actually got a chance to go “outside the wire” one more time – so this will be my last report before redeploying home. On the way back from Charikar, I saw this remnant of the old “Hippie Trail” days. I gather that hippy-types used to stumble off of Chicken Street in Kabul into buses like this, and head up to Charikar for further “enlightenment”. As I leave here, I hope Afghanistan can one day be a tourist destination again – if for more, er…sober type individuals. . . .
I could not believe that 20 years and one day ago, I had enlisted as a private in the Illinois Army National Guard – and now here I was, one last time, staring out over the Afghan countryside. There is so much more I could tell - I have seen so many things here that break your heart, and many that gave renewed hope – but that will be for another time. I will limit myself, in conclusion, to thanking you for letting one citizen-soldier tell the world at least some of what is happening here.
As I said, thanks are due to you, Major Tammes, and not the other way around. And we'll see tourism sooner than it seems now, I predict. It's fitting, perhaps, that an Afghan blog has appeared just as Major Tammes is leaving.
Here's a self-portrait that Major Tammes sent me a while ago, along with a few of his photos. In most cases you can click on them for the original report.
UPDATE: Some people wonder what kind of camera Major Tammes was using. As I mentioned before at some point, he's been using an Olympus C-750. I resized his photos, and applied a bit of color-correction and sharpening sometimes.
And at the risk of being snarky regarding the "blogs don't do original reporting" claim, I'll note that thanks to Major Tammes, InstaPundit had more correspondents in Afghanistan than most major U.S. newspapers.