As the top commanding officer of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal is a tough guy. He's currently locked in combat with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the fierce beltway politics surrounding the Afghan war, and even Attorney General Eric Holder. But now he's taking on a new foe: TGI Friday's.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — By American standards, the boardwalk at Kandahar Airfield isn't much to write home about. But this little square of Western culture in the Taliban heartland has served for years as a rare oasis for international forces embroiled in the ongoing Afghan war.
The most recent addition is a TGI Friday's, complete with the Americana kitsch, Rihanna videos playing on the flat screen behind the bar (which serves no alcohol), fried mozzarella sticks, and a life-size Yoda action figure with a light saber looking down on patrons from on high.
By order of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, ISAF is shutting down most of these reminders of home. "This is a war zone — not an amusement park," Command Sgt. Major Michael T. Hall recently wrote on the ISAF blog.
But all hope may not be lost for loaded potato skins and Jack Daniels steak-n-shrimp. General McChrystal has favored a strategy of reconciling with key Taliban leaders. Perhaps TGI Fridays reconciliation talks could be next?