Advice on going to Kandahar Afghanistan

Thanks to some drastic cost cutting measures by Secretary Gates, the previous position I held has been eliminated. Along with 1700 other white collar DoD Contractors I was scrambling to find something to keep the bills paid.

And what I found is a 6 month position supporting a BCP in Kandahar Afghanistan. Not ideal, but I do what I have to do.

So I’m looking for any advice, tips or suggestions from my fellow dopers on what to take, what to expect, and any other words of wisdom that can be offered. In general things like:

What to expect weather wise? I’ll be there from mid-May till around late August.

What type of clothing will be best? I don’t want to dress in cami’s because I’m not in the military, but I’m going to be sleeping in a tent on something that is more than a FOB, but less than a base. So easy to care for, comfortable, and durable is what I’m looking for.

Is there wireless coverage? Can you get phone service? In case the facilities that I’m at don’t have any sort of connectivity, is there a commercial option?

Anything else at all that anyone thinks is helpful.


Hot, very, very hot and dry. Like a blast furnace.

Anyone else? Anything at all?

It really depends on your geography. Kandahar province is large, however, given your description I’m assuming you’re saying you’ll be at KAF. There are over 20,000 people on this site, though, so if this is indeed where you’ll be coming it’s quite a bit larger than you think.

Temperature here only reached about 120F last summer. Average daily temp was a little less than that. The UV Index is almost always very high, so if you have to be outside for any length of time you’ll want sunscreen. Rain season has passed, so you shouldn’t need to plan for any of that. Between April 2010 - Jan 2011, I never saw a drop.

As far as clothing, I’d say don’t bring anything you don’t want ruined. Sand is everywhere: on the ground, in the air, twirling around in large funnels. A lot of it is going to get on you. Laundry is not good either. The go-to option for all the contractors I know is 511s. I suggest brown.

There is wireless coverage out here. A few of my coworkers have brought their blackberries with them to utilize free blackberry-to-blackberry messaging as a way of keeping in touch with folks back home. For in-country cell usage, I only know of two wireless providers, and both are very spotty.

As for commercial options for internet, again, depends on your area. If you are indeed at KAF, then yes, there are a couple of options on/around the boardwalk, but I can’t attest to the prices or quality.

I’ve been in Afghanistan for a year and a half. Finally about to leave, too. It’s a very dirty and very boring place. I suggest you bring something to keep you entertained in your down time.

Thanks Peg Leg that’s the sort of information I was looking for. I was planning on picking up a tablet for watching movies and such while I’m over there. I suspect I’ll be on base in a tent, but that is all I know right now. Would t-Shirts be out of place? Or should I stick to polo shirts which are the standard contractor fair here?

Also, is there a PX or equivalent there? I’d hate to have to pack 3 months of soap.