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One Tribe at a Time

This was taken just before Sitting Bull took me up to “Old Mangwel,” his old village the Russians had destroyed. Fifth from the left is Sitting Bull holding my M-4 with me at his side. My team member standing is SFC Travis Weitzel. Kneeling in front of me is SFC Mark Read and far right kneeling is SFC Scott Gross. We handed our weapons over to them for the photo.

It was also this night where, in great detail, I explained to Malik Noorafzhal why we referred to him as “Sitting Bull.” He was not only captivated by the story of this great American Indian warrior and leader of his people, but it was a great honor to him that we viewed him in that way.

I want to interject a couple of situations that might also tell of the relationship that was built with Malik Noorafzhal and my team. He and Dr. Akbhar were very open with their homes and families. I spent countless hours playing with Dr. Akhbar’s small children and the Mailk’s grandchildren and great grandchildren. e Mailk used to say to me, “Jim, I am getting too old. Play with the children today.

  • ey love you.” So do you know what my primary

task would be for the day? I would play with the chil- dren—for hours.

children and women as we played. I often thought that these play sessions did more for our cause in the Konar than all the raids we did combined.

Another very enjoyable, insightful and important part of our conversations was discussing the war

  • e little girls and I would walk around the village

holding hands and laughing at “stu.” ey would teach me Pashto and I would teach them English. We would be watched by literally hundreds of younger

Their families became our families.

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