It has been almost 14 years since the attacks of 9/11/2001, and during that time, America’s intelligence professionals at the CIA, mostly from the Counterterrorism Center and the Near East Division — though from the other Divisions within the National Clandestine Service, as well — have been on the front lines of the War on Terror in Afghanistan, as well as other widespread theaters of this Long War.

Throughout the duration of this conflict, the CIA has maintained a constellation of bases in Afghanistan, from which the agency has launched the majority of its operations against the terror network.  The bases fall under the leadership of Kabul Station.

A steady and long stream of officers have passed through these stations and bases during the War on Terrorism, belying the depiction of Hollywood movies like “Zero Dark Thirty,” which tend to portray the war as having been (and still being) fought by a small number of Agency personnel.  Make no mistake, these operations have been carried out by an infinitesimal percentage of the American public — much less than the oft-cited “1%” who have served in the military in these campaigns — but within the agency, many officers have had their turn in the barrel, operating in the sand box.

For the great majority of Americans who have never served in the war zone, there may be a certain curiosity as to what daily life is like at these stations and bases.  Please allow me to shed some light, or at least, as much light as the agency will allow me to shed.  The following is a somewhat sanitized account of typical day at a CIA base in this fraught region of the world, over the course of the U.S.’ War on Terrorism: