By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
While we didn't fly halfway around the world just to interview generals or ambassadors, its nonetheless notable that we've been in the region a week and we will depart for home having not been granted an interview with a single senior U.S. official.
It's not for lack of asking... and it's not as if there's a shortage of them here in Kabul, either. Tonight I was invited to a dinner at the official residence of U.S. Ambassador Eikenberry, where Generals Patreus and McCrystal were present (among others) but the talk was gently but quickly steered away from the elephant in the room: the pending decision by the president regarding the future direction of the military effort here in Afghanistan.
Some of those in the room tonight will no doubt join today's White House military session by secure teleconference. While there have been leaks, they've been classic trial balloons to guage early reaction to a policy idea that may or may not be what the president ultimately announces. It is abundantly clear the word has gone out that no one is to say anything during this period. Today I spoke (on background) with two Army Generals and assorted Army and Marine Colonels -- they all said they will adjust, carry on and carry out the order when the new plan is announced. I guess I'd be surprised if they'd said anything else.
This will be my last post from Afghanistan on this trip, so please allow me one more note: while I get to have my name on the broadcast and on this blog -- and while the slideshows and on-air coverage show only me in Afghanistan, I'm the least of this effort. Right now, technicians are standing in the cold on the roof of this building preparing for the broadcast. An adjacent room is filled with producers who are enduring another sleepless night. A videotape edit room in New York is churning out the coverage you'll see tonight. So far on this trip, we've had explosions, gunfire, an earthquake -- and among the staff we've had a non life-threatening electric shock, one debilitating migrane, one Cipro-worthy illness (and countless minor ones) and that's actually a shockingly low number of ailments and injuries in a dangerous place. And then there are the local drivers, there are the men who protect us with machine guns, there are the Afghans on our staff without whom we could not do our work.
Just some of the NBC staff in Afghanistan, photographed with soldiers in uniform. Left- John Kooistra, cameraman; Bob Lapp, audio technician; producers Subrata De and Madeleine Haeringer; and Brian Williams (far right).
Long after we are gone, many of our people stay on, continuing to cover this changing story, continuing to cover the tireless work of those stationed here in uniform. None of them ever get the credit they deserve -- and while this isn't enough, it's something. My thanks to our incredible team all around the globe.
I hope you can join us tonight for the broadcast they put together. Have a good weekend, and we'll see you from New York on Monday.