WARDAK, Afghanistan -- The small Afghan police and army outpost in this small district center looks like a war zone. The buildings are bullet-pocked and burnt, there is a burnt-out vehicle out front, and a rather nasty-looking machine-gun nest overlooks the road. Tired-looking Afghan policemen are milling about among the buildings.
The appearances don't lie: The center, originally built for civilian purposes, is a war zone. The 50 Afghan policemen and army troops stationed here come under attack by the Taliban almost every afternoon at 5 o'clock. The shooting goes on until about 9 p.m. After that, there is no point in continuing, as the Afghans, whether police or Taliban, have no night-vision equipment.
The good news is that the two platoons of Afghan security forces haven't lost a single man since March, despite the near-constant fighting. To be sure, there are still no civilians here, the bazaar is closed, and the police are constantly nagging for more coalition support. But at least they are not running away, as many of them were as recently as last year.