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In Afghanistan, NATO To Send Pizza Hut Packing

NATO officials say that fast food restaurants on large military bases in Afghanistan divert too many resources from smaller bases.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Photo: The U.S. Army

Secretary of the Army John McHugh shares a meal with Soldiers at Luxembourg Dining Facility at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 16, 2009.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal announced he is giving fast food restaurants the boot on large military bases in Afghanistan.

The announcement has spawned a series of delightful headlines – including many variants on ‘McChrystal dethrones Burger King‘.

McChrystal is commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF. Upon inspection, he found that fast food outlets on the large bases of Kandahar, Bagram and Mazar-e-Sharif are diverting too many resources from smaller bases.

Health And Economics

While some media outlets see this as a tactic to keep troops healthy, it really comes down to economics.

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall explained why the ISAF is doing away with these businesses:

Supplying non-essential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops fighting every day need to be resupplied with ammunition, food and water.

Some soldiers feel that the move will further damage the already crippled morale of troops in Afghanistan. Regarding morale, Hall says:

What won’t change or be diminished are the facilities that cater to service members’ well being and morale. Physical fitness centers will be equipped with cardio and weight equipment. We are working hard to get more bandwidth in country so we can provide troops throughout Afghanistan with faster, more reliable and more affordable (perhaps even free) Internet services and access to phones to stay connected with loved ones.

The troops in Afghanistan should expect the businesses to close their doors in the coming weeks and months.

Megan Meyer

Megan Meyer was in the company of foodies for most of her formative years. She spent all of her teens working at her town's natural food co-op in South Dakota, and later when she moved to Minneapolis, worked as a produce maven for the nation's longest running collectively-managed food co-op. In 2006, she had the distinct pleasure (and pain) of participating the vendanges, or grape harvest, in the Beaujolais terroire of France, where she developed her compulsion to snip off grape clusters wherever they may hang. In the spring of 2008, Megan interned on NPR's Science Desk in Washington, D.C., where she aided in the coverage of science, health and food policy stories. She joined Indiana Public Media in June, 2009.

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  • betsymarshall

    maybe they could get some Special ops cooks to liberate the recipe cards; then the troops could still get the fast food flavors thru regular channels?

  • betsymarshall

    maybe they could get some Special ops cooks to liberate the recipe cards; then the troops could still get the fast food flavors thru regular channels?

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