Troops pack up gear to ship out of Afghanistan
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — It was nearly 2 a.m. when U.S. Army Pfc. Zach Randle jumped out of his bulky armored vehicle in southern Afghanistan for what he hoped would be the last time.
"I don't want to see it again. It's been through a lot," Randle said of the 19-ton (17-metric ton) vehicle that was his ride — and sometimes his bed — during a six-month deployment to volatile Kandahar province.
"It protected us, but I'm just in a hurry to turn it in to be closer to going home," said Randle, who has now left Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama's drawdown of 33,000 U.S. troops by Sept. 30. The pullout — 10,000 last year and 23,000 more this year — will be finished within days. That will leave 68,000 American troops in this country to fight militants and help prepare Afghan forces to take over security nationwide.
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