Michael's Dispatches



24 September 2008
Jalalabad, Afghanistan

The shawal kameez is standard wear for Afghan men.  Since I plan to spend a great deal of time exploring Afghanistan unembedded, I headed into downtown Jalalabad to pick out the material and get fitted by a local tailor.  My Afghan guide and I walked through the markets for nearly two hours.  The only western presence we encountered was when two American OH 58 Kiowa helicopters flew high overhead, and I wondered for a moment if I might know the pilots.

Selecting the material.

Jalalabad is mostly safe, and I felt no threats walking the backstreets and the crowded bazaar, save for one time my danger bell chimed.  There was a young man wearing a black shawal kameez with a bandage on his head and one eye puffed closed.  He gave a long hard look with his one good eye, and I stared back.  But the other thousands of people I saw either seemed to ignore me or were overtly friendly.  I felt safe.  When I travel in northern India, if someone says “hello” in an urban environment, I am immediately suspicious about what’s coming next.  Yet here in Jalalabad, dozens after dozens of people said hello, or gave a thumbs up, and that was it.   Sometimes we shook hands and they just said goodbye and walked away smiling.

The Tailor’s Shop: They were all smiles and laughter and wanted me to photograph them, but the moment the camera came up, they took a serious pose.  Then they started smiling again, wanting to see the photo.  My shawal kameez (similar to the one the tailor is wearing) will be ready on Thursday.

When we shopped for a few items, such as the material for the shawal kameez, there was none of the hard selling or pushy shopkeepers that can be found in many Asian countries.  The atmosphere was altogether peaceful.  One shopowner was a Sikh, and I asked if he was from India, but he was Afghan.  In India and the U.S., I’ve always had good luck with Sikhs.  They tend to be honest and straightforward.

This Sikh man was selling shoes.

There are even some Hindus here.  Interestingly, down south in Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, up in Kabul, and out here in Nangarhar province, most everyone seems to hate or at least greatly distrust the Pakistanis.  Yet when I ask Afghans what they think of Indians, every Afghan I have asked, and that would be many, express affection for Indians.  I ask the Afghans, “You don’t care that most Indians are Hindus?”  “No, no, we don’t care.  We are Muslims and they are Hindus, but we like India.  The Indian people are welcome here.”  Yet the Muslims in Afghanistan do not like the Muslims in Pakistan, while the Hindus in India, in my experience, equally despise Pakistan.  Yet Americans who travel to Pakistan (I have yet to go myself), have always given me positive reports about the people.  From a distance, it looks like all Pakistanis hate all Americans.  Yet, again, the Pakistanis I meet around Asia have always been hospitable and even gracious to me.  I am convinced that we often go to war based on mostly false perceptions of each other.

We kept strolling around the market.  Dozens more people smiled, while many wanted their photos taken, or wanted to shake hands quickly and walk away.


Mista take piktcha!

Some of the foodstuffs I could identify, but others left me clueless.  There were many stands selling peanuts.  I was getting hungry, but was told that Afghans do not boil peanuts, so we kept going.   It’s Ramadan so the Muslims are not eating or drinking during the day time.


Gun store.  What kind of guns are these?

Anybody know?  Please leave comments.


Side one

I came across a coin (at least that’s what I think it is) in the bazaar.  It looked very old, and so I took a few photos, hoping that a reader might be able to identify it.  Maybe it’s a real coin, or perhaps a counterfeit.

Side two

And so it was just another day in Afghanistan, shopping in the bazaar, talking with the people, seeing all sorts of things, some I could identify, others I couldn’t.  Luckily, I can ask readers around the world – Whatzis?

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Casstx · 13 years ago
    Whatzis- it's a coin. The Koreans made coins that looked liked that about 400 years ago, except some of them had square holes in the center. It makes sense that others in Asia had square coins.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Doug Wright · 13 years ago
    Those look like Martini Henry, or sometimes called the Martini Enfield, rifles. The Brits used that model in their defense of Rorke's Drift in 1879. I bet those might be replicas, for which the Khyber Pass region is famous. It's a single shot, breech loading rifle, firing a large caliber brass cartridge.
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    Ben Obese-Jecty · 13 years ago
    The three rifles hung up on the left are Martini-Henrys, a la "Zulu". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martini-Henry
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    Ian Douglas · 13 years ago
    Definitely Martini Henry's. Check out http://www.martinihenry.com

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    Steven Hendrickson · 13 years ago
    The rifles in question are Martini-Henry (also Peabody-Martini-Henry) rifles/carbines. The time period in which the British used these rifles, saw the British army involved in a handful of Colonial wars (Boer War, Anglo-Zulu, etc), so not surprising to see them where you are. Going by the receiver markings, the one in your hand was made in 1906 by the Royal Small Arms Factory - but then it might be possible that it is simply a copy made by local craftsmen (there's a proof marking on the receiver which was discontinued before 1906). I don't know Martini rifles that well, but I can at least give them a name for you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jose Diaz · 13 years ago
    Most of the rifles shown here are Martini-Henry. These were the rifles the British used against the Zulus.If you watched the movie "Zulu Dawn" you will recognize them. Also check here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martini-Henry
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Azure · 13 years ago
    It COULD be a square coin but it could also be a seal or stamp for impressing into wax/clay/etc and leaving your signature so as to ensure legitimacy and prevent against forgeries. The letters seem to be Greek in the first image. I can see a mu, epsilon, lambda, and delta along the upper edge in this picture. The second bears an image of an ox or something similar and I can make out a psi, rho, and upsilon. If it's real, then it could date to an incredible period in Afghanistan where there was a fusion among Greek, Persian, Indian, Central Asian, and Afghani culture. There is an area in Northern Afghanistan that was known as Bactria and was conquered by Alexander the Great, who established colonies all over his empire including in Afghanistan. There were a number of Indo-Greek kingdoms all over the area. I can recommend you some readings on Greek and Roman influence and the hybrid cultures that developed in this area if you would like. Hit up my e-mail if you're interested. I'll see what I can find on this object in the meantime.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barry Hobbs · 13 years ago
    Okay, the Martinis were pretty easy. I'm betting the other weapon is a Snider OR a British Enfield which was orignally a muzzle loader but modified with a Snider Conversion to Breech Loader. In either event it looks like a carbine variant.
    They date to the American Civil War era and predate the Martini. At least that's my SWAG.


  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chris West · 13 years ago
    The other rifle is some sort of muzzle loading percussion cap rifle... I don't recognize the make, but that style of rifle dates back to the American Civil War.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark Baur · 13 years ago
    The three rifles on the left are indeed Martini-Henry type. The one in the close up is almost certainly a local copy. Even if they were still making MH rifles at that late a date for colonial troops (The "Long Lee" had superseded them by then), they would have been of the later, "long lever" type and these appear to be "short lever" models. Did you notice if they were in .45 (.577-450 MH) or . 0 (. 0 British) caliber?

    The rifle on the right end is never lighted well enough to see for sure, but looks like it might be a Trapdoor Springfield. If not, it's some sort of percussion muzzle loader.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chris West · 13 years ago
    Good call. On closer inspection, I have to agree. Trapdoor Springfield
    -pix/rd-2801.jpg" target="_blank">http://www.armchairgunshow.com/ot5 -pix/rd-2801.jpg -pix/rd-2801.jpg" class="jcm-img-preview" />
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul W. Ross · 13 years ago
    Ok, camera is a "street photography" camera. Takes picture on paper and does a reversal printing process without a negative. Very common in shore areas (like Atlantic City, New York, etc. maybe up through early 60s). See Focal Handbook of Photography for how it works.

    As to guns, look like Martini-Henry rifles. See the movie "Zulu." Check into rec.guns news group for more detail. One on right looks like a Schneider (sp??) conversion of a percussion to early rolled metal cart. design. Block replaces end plug on a muzzle loader. Transition gun. I can't tell for sure. Otherwise some sort of percussion muzzle loader.


    BTW, GREATLY enjoy your columns/writing. Keep up the good work!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TomInVan · 13 years ago
    Michael, thank you again for another excellent and fascinating reportage.

    Here's a Wikipedia entry on the "Khyber Pass Copy" rifles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyber_Pass_Copy

    More here: http://www.martinihenry.com/khyberpage.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ambush Alley Games · 13 years ago
    . . . and all the Martinis were gone. Or in this case identified. ;-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Captmatt · 13 years ago
    Did you happen to notice a spider monkey nearby, on a leash, wearing a fez?


    I couldn't resist.

    Otherwise...no clue.

    Thanks for everything you do Michael.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    HLH · 13 years ago
    Hmm.... looking at the pictures of the Market brings back visions of the markets in Korea. I lived in Korea for a year, and the markets were always an adventure into the strange and unknown. Ah, but they were fun. I have pictures of fried Silk Worm Larvae, and many other strange and unidentifiable delicacies (which I did NOT feel moved to try). YUM YUM! :-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jtb-in-texas · 13 years ago

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Winefred · 13 years ago
    Michael -- A quick browse tells me that you have an Indo-Greek,[maybe Indo-Bactrian, -Kushian - Scythian] bronze coin, first or second century B.C.

    I think the one in your top picture is flipped 90 degrees left -- it appears to be an equestrian figure. The word across the top (oriented as you have it) appears to be "MEGALOU" or something in the "MEGA" family.
    The lower picture is pretty standard, a brahma bull. In all the examples I found, this side was in a different script (Hindi?) and the obverse side was always in Greek.

    Possibly this one?: http://www.parscoins.com/itemdetail.asp?type=S&item=62 4

    Big Indo-Greek coin site here: http://www.anythinganywhere.com/commerce/coins/coinpics/indi-baktria.html

    Other examples here (very clear pictures): http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=771&pos=0&sold=1

    Another example seems something like yours (scroll to bottom): http://www.coinart.net/Indoscythian.htm

    Lots of sites to be found under "Indo-Greek" [or Scythian, Bactrian, etc.] coins. Hope this is helpful. Nice find.

    -- Winefred
  • This commment is unpublished.
    poopie · 13 years ago
    Beautiful colors and happy people! Very nice post ^j^
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    Binks, WebElf · 13 years ago

    Some greek there, plus another language.

    It sure looks related to this:


    Baktria, Indo-Scythian Kings, Azes I. ca 57- 0's BC. ?? 26mm x 24mm. King on camel right, holding ankus / Zebu bull standing right; monogram below. Alram 1001.

    New Search : Back to Search Results
    ?® Previous : Next ?¯

    Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 984. Closing Date: Sep 25,
    2002. BAKTRIA, Indo-Scythian Kings. Azes I. BID
    Estimate $400

    BAKTRIA, Indo-Scythian Kings. Azes I. Circa
    57- 0's BC. ?? 26mm x 24mm (12.90 gm). King on
    camel right, holding ankus / Zebu bull standing
    right; monogram below. Alram 1001; AIC 255. Good
    VF, dark brown, almost black, patina. Rare. ($400)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matt Sanchez · 13 years ago
    I've seen those rifles in the bazaars, I never saw one that looked like it could actually fire. They look like colonial replicas from the 19th century.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vance · 13 years ago
    The rifles starting from the left are British Martini-Henri rifles from the late 19th century. The one all the way on the left is the short version, a cavalry carbine (not that rare). The longer ones are std infantry issue and are very rare (esp with the bayonet).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Fred Wyant · 13 years ago
    I agree about the Martini muzzleloaders, but think the one hanging on the right is a 45-70 trapdoor Springfield 187 ; however, the light is not good. The barrel diamater and length are about right for the Infantry version.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Azure · 13 years ago
    The other language and script would most likely be a form of Bactrian. I have some numismatics books en route that I hope will provide a clearer answer. The Azilises coin seems to fit the bill, however.

    This is a good example of the destruction of history that is being wrought throughout the world but especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. While objects are important in and of themselves they actually matter very little compared to the context in which they occur. For archaeologists context is everything. Removing artifacts from sites destroys nearly everything we can hope to learn from them. The trafficking in stolen objects is a serious problem for everyone, not just historians and archaeologists, because it robs the inhabitants of their heritage and deprives humanity of history. For those who dig up these objects they represent valuable merchandise that can be sold to tourists or the black market, often for much needed money. The poor are often contracted out to dig up "treasure" by people who will pay them a pittance in exchange and then sell them on the black market. As with the poppy crops in Afghanistan the people do it because they need money and there is little alternative, as archaeologists have small funds with which to counter this robbery. What needs to happen, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, is that the government (local eventually but U.S. at the moment) needs to provide funds for cultural preservation to build museua and archaeological surveys and hire guards to protect known sites. It seems small and insignificant compared to the work of defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban and reestablishing working infrastructure and government, but it is meaningful and important to build up a source of knowledge and pride in one's own country and districts. There are many reasons why so many civilizations and leaders have used art and history for the glorification of their own peoples and for propaganda. Look at the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas in Bamayan, for instance, or the erection of monuments in Washington D.C. to take opposite examples. Consider Mussolini's excavations in Rome, Pompeii, and Herculaneum or Hitler's confiscations, destructions, and plans for construction of monuments and art work. The initial invasion of Iraq resulted in destruction and looting of the Iraqi national museum because it was not placed on the list of sites to be protected, even though numerous curators and archaeologists from around the world admonished the U.S. government about what would happen if no protection was provided. Subsequent years have seen the wholesale destruction of hundreds of archaeological sites throughout Iraq, some to the point of no return; they have been lost forever because of a lack of concern for their safekeeping. The guns as well as the coin are just a few examples of this kind of loss of history, though on very different timescales.

    Anyway, enough rambling pessimism from me for the moment. :-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave · 13 years ago
    Great Photos Michael,

    Be safe out there bro, looks like alot of fun what your doing though.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jonathan Rubinstein · 13 years ago
    Michae: Frank Holt, Into the Land of Bones is about Alexander the Great in A. which he used as his platform for invading the Indus Valley. A professor at the U. T. Austin, he has written extensively on the coinage which is a subject of special interest to classical scholars as Alexander had special coins srtruck for these campaigns. This is a book well worth reading. Knowing your interests, you will find it compelling and familiar. Godspeed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John in Oregon · 13 years ago
    Michael, your photos are excellent. Good indoor quality and color. Back in my youth I went to Brooks Institute of Photography. Keep up the good work and watch your six.

    Best Regards,
    John in Oregon
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ~Paules · 13 years ago
    I've been to some backwaters in my time, but this bazaar is impressive. I have no problem believing that a coin from the Greco-Bactrian kingdom might survive in this region, but I warn you not to purchase curios that might appear genuine. The locals are skilled at producing high quality fakes. Previous commenters have accurately identified the weaponry so I won't add my two cents. But I can give you insight into areas more prosaic. The produce, as near as I can tell from the photos, includes mostly staples. Rice and dahl (lentils) make up the base diet for the poor. Chick peas do well in an arid climate; they are easily turned into that favorite of the region known as falafal. I see a few bins that might contain fool beans. The spices I cannot identify by sight, but I expect many are some sort of curry or another. When I visited Kashmir back in the late '80's, I found cherries and apples in abundance due to the temperate climate. I would expect to see the same in Afghanistan.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    KLM · 13 years ago
    I'm worried about your safety, just as with all of the guys there. But I am so damn glad you're there, the one doing the reporting now. You are able to bring a human touch to what others slaughter in their version of "journalism". Please, dear Mr. Yon, PLEASE could you put out a photo book of your time in Afghanistan? Amazing pictures. Seeing these is the first time I've felt connected to the place where my husband is serving.

    I'm reading your page every day now, and passing it around to others, too. Thank you for what you do.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pat Patterson · 13 years ago
    I agree that the coin is probably a Bactrian, also probably a drachma, or a fake Bactrian, from the late 1st Century BCE. But beware there are numerous fakes that are centuried old as the die for these coins were circulated widely and creative coinage was a fairly acceptable career choice. At least as long as the silver or gold content was comparable and the die wasn't so worn down that no one could recognize the symbology. This particular coin seems to have been incised with a tool as opposed to the larger die which would produced obverse and reverse in one pressing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    staghounds · 13 years ago
    The rifle- now probably a shotgun- is a cut down or locally made Snider.


    Here's a close up of the action:


    The coin is a modern tourist piece, a fantasy item made up from imagination. It looks like the creator had seen some Mesopotamian seals and they stuck in his head, but of course seals are intaglio rather than relief.

    I love those bazaars.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    staghounds · 13 years ago
    I was basing my comment on the coin on the very modern Latin looking letters- there were roughly similar coins, true.

    The rifle I'm talking about is one on the right, the others are Martinis. Clean and solid English ones go for $4-600 in the U. S.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    yaacov · 13 years ago
    Once you're in the area i suggest you take a look at the compelling speculations about Afghan origins documented in Simcha Jacabovici's film "Quest for the Lost Tribes of Israel" made for A&E Network.

    In this connection: my layman's eye identifies both the Hebrew letters Ayin and Reish on the coin pictured. The film shows other examples of Hebrew script on ancient artifacts in Afghanistan.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dora-Stryker MOM! · 13 years ago
    Wow great pictures, What colors!!! You do everything with such passion...Keep it up and stay safe!!! HOOAH!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Singleton · 13 years ago
    Great pics...remind me of times spent in souks from Sana'a, Yemen to Khartoum in Sudan. But the Martini-Henrys remind me of Kipling's tribute to the bravery of the Hadendoa (Fuzzy Wuzzies) when he wrote, "we sloshed you with Martinis" (meaning the rifle). My favorite poem:

    Soudan Expeditionary Force, Early Campaigns

    WE ƒ??VE fought with many men acrost the seas,
    Anƒ?? some of ƒ??em was brave anƒ?? some was not,
    The Paythan anƒ?? the Zulu anƒ?? Burmese;
    But the Fuzzy was the finest oƒ?? the lot.
    We never got a haƒ??porthƒ??s change of ƒ??im:
    ƒ??E squatted in the scrub anƒ?? ƒ??ocked our ƒ??orses,
    ƒ??E cut our sentries up at Suakim,
    Anƒ?? ƒ??e played the cat anƒ?? banjo with our forces.
    So ƒ??ere ƒ??s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your ƒ??ome in the Soudan;
    You ƒ??re a pore benighted ƒ??eathen but a first-class fightinƒ?? man;
    We gives you your certificate, anƒ?? if you want it signed
    We ƒ??ll come anƒ?? ƒ??ave a romp with you whenever you ƒ??re inclined.

    We took our chanst among the Kyber ƒ??ills,
    The Boers knocked us silly at a mile,
    The Burman give us Irriwaddy chills,
    Anƒ?? a Zulu impi dished us up in style:
    But all we ever got from such as they
    Was pop to what the Fuzzy made us swaller;
    We ƒ??eld our bloominƒ?? own, the papers say,
    But man for man the Fuzzy knocked us ƒ??oller.
    Then ƒ??ere ƒ??s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, anƒ?? the missis and the kid;
    Our orders was to break you, anƒ?? of course we went anƒ?? did.
    We sloshed you with Martinis, anƒ?? it was nƒ??t ƒ??ardly fair;
    But for all the odds aginƒ?? you, Fuzzy-Wuz, you broke the square.

    ƒ??E ƒ??as nƒ??t got no papers of ƒ??is own,
    ƒ??E ƒ??as nƒ??t got no medals nor rewards,
    So we must certify the skill ƒ??e ƒ??s shown
    In usinƒ?? of ƒ??is long two-ƒ??anded swords:
    When ƒ??e ƒ??s ƒ??oppinƒ?? in anƒ?? out among the bush
    With ƒ??is coffin-ƒ??eaded shield anƒ?? shovel-spear,
    An ƒ??appy day with Fuzzy on the rush
    Will last an ƒ??ealthy Tommy for a year.
    So ƒ??ere ƒ??s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, anƒ?? your friends which are no more,
    If we ƒ??ad nƒ??t lost some messmates we would ƒ??elp you to deplore;
    But give anƒ?? take ƒ??s the gospel, anƒ?? we ƒ??ll call the bargain fair,
    For if you ƒ??ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!

    ƒ??E rushes at the smoke when we let drive,
    Anƒ??, before we know, ƒ??e ƒ??s ƒ??ackinƒ?? at our ƒ??ead;
    ƒ??E ƒ??s all ƒ??ot sand anƒ?? ginger when alive,
    Anƒ?? ƒ??e ƒ??s generally shamminƒ?? when ƒ??e ƒ??s dead.
    ƒ??E ƒ??s a daisy, ƒ??e ƒ??s a ducky, ƒ??e ƒ??s a lamb!
    ƒ??E ƒ??s a injia-rubber idiot on the spree,
    ƒ??E ƒ??s the onƒ??y thing that does nƒ??t give a damn
    For a Regiment oƒ?? British Infantree!
    So ƒ??ere ƒ??s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your ƒ??ome in the Soudan;
    You ƒ??re a pore benighted ƒ??eathen but a first-class fightinƒ?? man;
    Anƒ?? ƒ??ere ƒ??s to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your ƒ??ayrick ƒ??ead of ƒ??airƒ??
    You big black boundinƒ?? beggarƒ??for you broke a British square!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CRASH67 · 13 years ago
    Those are not replicas they are the real deal a collector and reenactors dream. There is a story from a guy in Louisiana that when he was in Afghanistan was taking a break from a detail when he saw the sand in front of him move he dug into the sand to find a miniball they had taken fire from an enfield rifle they engaged the enemy dispatched him accordingly and he brought the gun back to the base and asked since this is a relic more than a modern weapon and that he was a reneactor could he send it home and according to those who told the story he has it now at home with him as far as i know
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Victoria A. · 13 years ago
    Michael, shoot me an email with an addy that I can send a PDF to you. I co-authored a report on Afghanistan which you likely will find of both interest and utility while in that country. The report is unclassified, so I can share it. I'm happy to provide digital or hard copy versions.

    I second the motion made by one of the other posters: At some point, a coffee-table style book of your photography would be highly appropriate, and well received. I too am a photographer, and at one point in my life made my living designing coffee-table books. Your work is very worthy of such a publication, and would market well.

    Let me hear from you when you've got a moment!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hermes Mendez · 13 years ago
    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your work. As someone who has not traveled through these parts of the world, I do appreciate being able to see the every day people and hear of their struggles, their likes and dislikes, and their way of life. Your work is invaluable and I salute you!! Keep them coming!!
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    Simon · 13 years ago
    The Martini Henrys are locally produced copies, as you can tell by the fact that one is dated "1906 V.R." when Queen Victoria died in 1901. Notice that one even has a ramrod, which was totally obsolete by the time MHs came along. Not sure what the standard of engineering on them would be, probably quite low.

    The other rifle is a Snider, again probably a locally produced copy.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    xoxoxoBruce · 13 years ago
    Mike, I'd like your permission to post that picture of the box camera, at Cellar.org, as the "Image Of the Day". With full credit and a link to this page of course, because I'd like to direct more people to your photographs.
    I've linked to your site often in the last several years, but the pictures might attract some of the people that don't follow the "Politics" or "Current Evens" threads.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Carl Nogueira · 13 years ago
    Reading through, as I do with all your communications. I know you know what your are doing, but it always worries me when you are on your own outside the wire. Be extra careful picking up your stuff on Thursday. Appointments have been used throughout time as a wonderful way of pinning down a person's where-abouts to do harm to them. Be safe, your the only real voice we have out there.
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    clyde Kirkman · 13 years ago
    The three on the left appear to be Martini-Henry rifles, which were standard issue British Military arms of Victorian times.
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    Emal · 13 years ago
    Dear Micheal, Its so nice to hear that atleast some of internationals dare to walk around the cities in Afghanistan. Being the resident of Jalalabad city, I appriciate your this initiative. In order to have the real picture of local thoughts and thinking, you should go out meet and talk with the people then you well get the idea what do the people want.
    I perssonaly ask other soldiers to come outside of their bases, leave the armed humvees and weapons, wear civilian dress and meet the people. It will show that Internationals have come here to heal Afghan wounds.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sheila Pickerill · 13 years ago
    Michael, the rifle on the right end looks like a Tower made 1864 in England for the North during the American Civil War. If so, it is a powder and ball.
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    Twotypetwos · 13 years ago
    The photo above the coin is a Braendlin Carbine My understanding is they were contracted to fill Enfield's orders and are at least as well made as the Enfields were. This would have been originally chambered in .450 caliber.
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    Amy K · 13 years ago
    Always a pleasure to see the world -- especially the day-to-day bits -- through your lens. Regards from Berlin!
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    Karen · 13 years ago
    I don't know anything about the rifles or coins, but I do know good photos when I see them. I second the idea of a coffee table book (in your spare time!).

    Please be safe. I worry about your safety over there when unembedded, as others do. I do love and appreciate your dispatches and share them with others who are interested in an objective view. Thanks for keeping us connected to the action over there.

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    Linda from Bama · 13 years ago
    Hi Mike, hope you remember "Pocahontas", your nickname for me when we were corresponding when you were in Mosul with Deuce Four. Hard to do now that you're so famous. LOL Would love to hear from you again though even though youƒ??re very busy. (hint, hint)

    I just wanted to tell you I get a vicarious thrill from your travels because of both your photos and your writing. Both are excellent and make me feel like I've actually traveled along with you. As I've told you before you make the reader and the person looking at your photos feel they're in on the action and there with you viewing everything that's going on. Also, you tell the truth with your words and show the truth with your photos. You let us know whatƒ??s going on. The good, the bad and the ugly. And thatƒ??s why so many of us like your work so much. Kudos on keeping it real.

    No clue about the coin. Some letters look Greek to me (pun intended :-)

    The earliest gun I have in my collection is the Colt M187 single-action .45 revolver used during the Philippine-American War. If I remember correctly these revolvers were only used for a short while during that war, however, had been used for several decades later on in the late 1800s.

    If the guns you photographed are real I'd sure love to get my hands on one cause ya know how I love guns and knives. (drool)

    I second everyone who suggested you do a coffee table style book of all your photos. They are wonderful. I'd certainly be the first in line to purchase one (with your signature of course).

    You watch your six and be careful over there. You've got more writing, photo taking and truth telling to do. Don't get careless just because everyone seems so friendly. And I second the other poster who told you to be extra careful with planned appointments. Be especially careful.

    Just to make ya laugh since ya liked my southern idioms so much when we were corresponding.......if'n ya get yerself in truble Ah'll haf ta pitch mahsalf a gud ol fashioned, Redneck, hot flashin, tee totally ticked off menopausal hissy fit. An ya know how bad they's can be!!!!! An afer that ya can call on the ƒ??Hormonal, Hot Flashin, Redneck, Menopausal, Bama Bitch Brigadeƒ? ta help ya out. Weƒ??re always at your service. LOL BTW, this comment reminded me of my very southern hick sounding voice when I talked to you on that Boston radio show. I recorded it and both my husband and I think I sounded like Ellie Mae Clampet and you and the host sounded like y'all got a kick out of it too and prolly everyone who listened to it even the critters by the cement pond. LOL (Ah did sound terrible). My accent even sounds southern to native southerners. Now that's bad! ACK!

    Godspeed to you my friend and keep up the above excellent work you are doing. As usual you are in my prayers.

    Linda in Bama aka "Pocahontas"
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DagneyT · 13 years ago
    I'm curious about the gentleman with the apparently dyed red beard??? Is it a cultural statement?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ron Luycx · 13 years ago
    My first thought was that this is a street organ. I agree with Captmatt, you should keep an eye out for that monkey. I did a Google search and saw many street organs in the photos but none like that one.

    Love your work, stay safe.

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