The boardwalk at Kandahar Airfield is lined with many American standards that remind international forces fighting in the Taliban heartland of the Western culture of home. But it will soon be gone, the Miami Herald reported.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has ordered the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to close many of the restaurants (Burger King, Subway and TGI Friday's included), stores, sports venues and concert stages that provide U.S. troops with some comforts of home while fighting a war abroad.
The decision seems to be geared toward the military image and perception of Western forces as much as it is about logistics, the Miami Herald reports. Some say the Western material comforts do not provide the impression Gen. McChrystal is trying to put forward that the U.S. is not trying to force American culture on Afghanistan.
"This is a war zone - not an amusement park," the Herald quoted Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall from an ISAF blog.
The decision will likely be unpopular with U.S. forces, the Miami Herald reported, but officially the decision is being blamed on logistical reasons.
"Some will say the decision to do away with these amenities is meant only to make things harder for deployed service members, but nothing could be farther from the truth," the Herald quotes Hall. "Closing these facilities will free up much-needed storage facilities at both Bagram and Kandahar, space which is critical as 30,000 additional American and up to 7,000 international troops flow into Afghanistan over the next several months."
Not every establishment will be shuttered, however. The Green Beans coffee house, AT&T phone stores, fitness centers and some Afghan-run stalls will remain open to the ISAF troops, according to the Herald.