DELARAM, Afghanistan -- Around the barren military base, which sits at the crossroads of the Taliban's poppy trade route, news arrives slowly. A single issue of the U.S. military's newspaper arrives by airlift about every two weeks. While on patrol in remote villages, Afghans sometime shout at the Marines in Russian to go away, unaware that the troops are promoting democracy. Most Marines here said that they didn't know about President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet picks, including his decision to keep Robert Gates as their secretary of defense.
However, the domestic economic meltdown has reached even here. The National Guardsmen who serve with the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Corps Regiment, based here, say they fear that their jobs won't be there when they return.