The village of Kamu is only a brief walk from COP Lowell, and every month a MEDCAP mission is dispatched to provide medical assistance for locals. As the doctors work on the villagers a crowd of young boys swarm about the doctors like a cloud of gnats, waiting for the sweets inevitably passed out. Every one of the boys old enough to walk a straight line is armed with a slingshot, home-made, an obvious source of pride in a place where personal possessions are few and far between, and a physical connection to their past.
The boys of Kamu, and others throughout Nuristan, follow a long and proud history of warriors. For men, life revolves around the way of the gun: women and children tend to the crops and livestock, and men fight, as they have for thousands of years.
It is in the mountains of Afghanistan that the armies of Alexander the Great met their match; the Mongols, British, Russians, and others have all tried to subdue the region, only to break upon the mountains like waves on rocks. The great mountains of the Hindu-Kush give unlimited opportunities for local fighters to hide, and wait, and attack; an advantage that has proved near-insurmountable for would be-conquerors throughout the years.
But NATO forces do not come as conquerors, a fact that the people of Nuristan regard as something of little consequence. There are foreigners in their mountains, and while they may come with the best intentions, for many Nuristanis they are not welcome. So the men take up arms and fight, as the have done some many times before, and will do many times again.