Coming to Terms

Jan 14, 2011   //   by peretz   //   terms  //  No Comments

And there’s more where these came from…

  • FOB — for­ward oper­at­ing base, as in FOB Fenti, a US Army base at Jalal­abad Air­field (JAF)
  • FOB — free open bar, as in FOB TAJ ;)
  • COMMS — com­mu­ni­ca­tions, cell phone con­nec­tion, inter­net, radio.  Gotta keep it running.
  • Prime — Main per­son on task, who has to keep COMMS flow­ing. “You’re prime, I need you to have COMMS.  None of that cell­phone stolen in the mar­ket business.”
  • COP — com­bat out­post, COPs are sup­ported by FOBs.
  • Reach­back — sup­ply line, ver­sus front­line, for­ward lean­ing and stretched per­son­nel.  They need you, the reachback.
  • Secu­rity Indus­trial Com­plex — Dave’s term for the incen­tive struc­ture for pri­vate secu­rity com­pa­nies to tell you how dan­ger­ous it is if you travel with­out them.
  • Sky Cover — in case of attack, run to the high­est point.  We con­trol the skies.  The birds will pro­tect you.
  • Bush Mar­ket - this is what locals call the mar­ket for Amer­i­can goods that either leaked from (or fell off the truck on the way to).  Such mar­kets exists in Kabul and in Jalal­abad, and prob­a­bly around the coun­try.  (I’ve seen one in Kyr­gyzs­tan too.)  You can get Army boots, MREs and even cook­ies that Amer­i­can moms shipped to their sons in Afghanistan.  Some­times they eat the cook­ies.  Some­times, they barter them for Afghan goods. Relat­edly, Amer­i­can poul­try dona­tions to Rus­sia in the early 90s (dur­ing George H Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion) were called Bush’s Legs, “legs” more  clearly denot­ing drum­sticks in Russian.
  • Lover’s SIM card — The cell phone provider Eti­salat has really good in net­work rates and you can talk for hours with your loved one.  The advent of cell­phones has cre­ated an oppor­tu­nity to trans­gress the taboo of min­gling gen­ders.  “As they say, if he’s got a cell­phone, he’s got to have a girl­friend,” says our Afghan friend.  The out of net­work rates cre­ate bar­ri­ers between peo­ple who have phones on dif­fer­ent net­works, such as MTN, Eti­salat, Roshan and Afghan Wire­less.  Of course, you could get cell­phones with sev­eral sim cards, and then you could really be a playa for realz!
  • Two SIM cards?

  • OPM — other people’s money, that which the con­trac­tors don’t care about spend­ing.  “What do we care? It’s OPM.” This, in response to Dave’s remark that it’s cheaper to pro­vide inter­net to 50,000 kids than to hire 1 Xe (a rebrand­ing of Black­wa­ter) guard.
  • Night Let­ters - is what you don’t want to find on your door in the morn­ing. Var­i­ous fac­ul­ties in Nan­ga­har Uni­ver­sity some­times get Night Let­ters.  Then it’s fre­quently traced back to stu­dents from their very own Shariya (Islamic Law) Fac­ulty.  How oddly convenient?
  • TCN — third coun­try national — for exam­ple a Nepali/Ghorka secu­rity con­trac­tor work­ing in Afghanistan.  Cheaper to hire.
  • Mak­ing Money, as in, “my tow gun­ner has been mak­ing a lot of money.  For 80 shots, he’s got over 100 con­firmed casu­al­ties.” To be super clear — no money is actu­ally exchanged.
  • XO - exec­u­tive offi­cer, as in: Who’s the XO of this COP?
  • DFAC — Din­ing Facil­ity, as in, How’s the DFAC in this FOB?
  • Fri­day — is the new week­end.  Roads are free of cars.  Peo­ple are home with their fam­i­lies. At 1pm all the Mosques are over­flow­ing for the weekly pod­cast.  Ter­ror acts are less frequent.
  • This one blew only half way.

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