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Our Washington Independent colleague Spencer Ackerman is embedded with U.S. troops on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border through Sept. 19. We'll reprint his dispatches from the field over the next eleven days. KABUL – A friend of mine who’s been to Afghanistan warned me several times against flying on Ariana, the national airline. Apparently she’s traveled with a flight crew that was noticeably drunk. My flight from Istanbul was far less eventful. Though it seems my fellow passengers didn’t believe in queuing in single file, preferring to test whether they can edge you out with a well-timed shoulder-led thrust. Apart from that, everything was placid.