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Kabul - Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan


Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan with a population of approximately 3 million people. It is an economic and cultural center strategically situated in a narrow valley along the Kabul River, high in the mountains before the Khyber Pass. Kabul is linked with Ghazni, Kandahar, Herat and Mazari Sharif via a long beltway (circular highway) that stretches across Afghanistan. It is also linked with Pakistan in the southeast and Tajikistan in the north by highways, and is approximately 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) above sea level. Kabul's main products include ordnance, cloth, furniture, and beet sugar, though continual war since 1979 has limited the economic productivity of the city. Kabul's population is multicultural and multi-ethnic, reflecting the diversity of Afghanistan, with Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and others all comprising the bulk of the city's population. Kabul is in the process of being rebuilt following decades of war and devastation, so accurate census counts remain difficult and only rough estimates are available.

Kabul is a very safe city. It's probably safer than a handful of U.S. cities including Detroit and St. Louis.

Camp Phoenix is a small camp located on the outskirts of the city. It has a small-town feel to it. Everyone recognizes everyone so when new people show up they tend to stand out. The camp is multinational as it includes coalition soldiers from numerous countries.

Climate: In the mountainous northeastern and central region of Afghanistan, which includes Kabul, the temperatures drop to well below freezing and the winters can last up to six months (Nov-April), with rain and heavy snowfall at times. Summers are dry and dusty. Summer temperatures run from 15 -40C normally. It usually does not rain from April to October.
Hottest months: June - Sep. High 32C (89F) Low 9C (48F)
Coldest months: Dec. - March. Low -7C (19F) High 15C (59F)

Living Conditions

  • Accommodations: Currently, members of the education staff live in shared "Conexes" (shipping containers divided in two) or individual, partitioned B-Huts that house 8 people. The rooms have air conditioners and heaters.
  • Electricity: Rooms and bathrooms have 110V
  • Vendors: There is a PX (Post Exchange store) plus a Green Beans Coffee Shop, a Burger King, and a Pizza Hut.
  • Facilities: There is a half mile track available for exercise plus a 24 hour gym, a racquetball court, 24 hour dining facility, movie night twice a week, karaoke one night a week, yoga classes, ab and step classes, a mini spa for manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials.
  • Laundry service: This service is available however items usually come back shrunk or faded.
  • Chapel: Various religious services are available.
  • Call center - ATT
  • Bazaar: American and French bazaars
  • Mail: Does not arrive on a regular schedule due to weather conditions
  • Internet: Items may be ordered off of the internet.

Working Conditions

  • Employees work 12 hours per day, 7 days a week (84 hrs/week).
  • Central Texas College has its own air conditioned and heated offices
  • The electricity at the Education Center is 220V.

What to Bring

  • Warm bedding
  • Water proof shoes
  • Clothing that accommodate dressing in layers. Durable clothes. Consider some lightweight, hiking-type clothes for the extreme summer heat. Khaki Pants are good because the area is very dusty!
  • Summer clothing shorts and short-sleeve shirts. Walking shorts and knee length skirts are acceptable summer clothing. No short skirts. No sleeveless shirts, tank tops, open toed shoes or sandals are allowed in the dining facilities or in the gym.
  • Shower shoes
  • Metal hooks for the bedroom
  • Unless you want to do a lot of hand washing, do not bring anything that you do not want ruined by the laundry service.
  • Nice smelling candles, air fresheners, lotions and shower gels
  • Bug spray there are lots of mosquitoes
  • Sleeping bag
  • Make-up and hair care products
  • One nice outfit (one might attend a change of command or an embassy function)
  • Luggage - Dont bring more than you are willing to carry. Ship the rest in advance.
  • Money - How can I get cash? The easiest way is to bring some with you. You can cash checks there - usually about $200/month. You can also use a debit card at the PX to get $20 back per day with purchase.
  • Small flashlight
  • Toiletries
  • Towels (can usually buy at the PX, but you may need one en route)
  • Twin sheets (can usually buy at PX) and blanket (can use sleeping bag too)
  • Pillow (also typically for sale, but you can never be sure)
  • Exercise clothing nothing revealing!
  • Pictures of loved ones
  • Personal media devices
  • Sun block
  • Good, dark sunglasses
  • Cargo pants are nice for carrying things. You cant take a purse into dining facilities
  • Dont worry if you forget things. You can always order stuff from the internet

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