It’s Christmas morning, and I am wondering if it’s too early to break out the bourbon. We are at a CIA base in eastern Afghanistan, about 12 kilometers from the border with Pakistan, in the heart of Pashtun country. It’s a quiet morning, no rockets have been fired at the base, and there are no reports of any immediate planned attacks coming our way.

We have propped up a few makeshift Christmas trees that some of our terps were good enough to find for us up in the mountains, and we’ve festooned them with red and green chem lights as decoration. Someone has set up some speakers with an iPod (it is 2006, after all…), and there is some old-fashioned Dean Martin Christmas music playing. Nice. Almost like home. Enough to make a guy forget about the Hesco barriers and razor wire keeping us safe(ish) from the evils lurking outside the wire.

Our chief of base has been good enough to give us a break for the day, as we usually work from about 7:30 a.m. until about 10 p.m.  On this Christmas day, though, we will just check for important cable traffic, and then take it easy and celebrate. We have a turkey to baste, and some other goodies sent over to us special from Kabul Station. We are planning quite the luxurious day, by Afghanistan standards.

And then Sandbag imploded our plans. It seems one of our base dogs decided she would chase something into the razor wire. We had about four or five named pet dogs at any one time, most of which were rescued as puppies off the streets of the town near which our base was located. You had to save them early, or they became vicious Afghan street dogs. You had to get them back to the base and raise them as American dogs from the earliest possible age, or they’d turn.