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For The Faster Times:

Now Zad, Afghanistan—This morning I woke up, fumbled on flip flops, rolled out of our hutch, and couldn’t see anything. I glanced at my watch. Happy Thanksgiving, Afghanistan.

A dust storm had descended on the Marines of Weapons Company, stationed in the district center of Now Zad, Helmand province. Huge pillars the color of leather rolled through the camp, one after another, cutting visibility to thirty or forty feet in the middle of them. Then the rain started, tamping the dust down and clearing the air. Our Pakistani-American translator, Yousef, raised an eyebrow at my mild delight with this change of events.

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