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Fast-food in Afghan base controversy

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, April 7 (UPI) -- A decision by the U.S. military to close "non-essential" fast-food outlets at its largest air base in Afghanistan has soldiers irked, observers say.

Kandahar Air Base is the main entry point for troops and materiel entering the country, and its entertainment district of fast-food outlets, restaurants, electronics stores and sports facilities serves some 25,000 service personnel, The Christian Science Monitor reported Wednesday.

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Military officials made a study to determine whether the district and its operations were essential to troop morale or whether it hampered efforts to bring much-needed shipments of arms and supplies for military campaigns in Kandahar Province.

"This is a war zone, not an amusement park," Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall posted on a NATO blog in February.

"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," Hall wrote.

Troops on the Kandahar base don't agree.

"Are people back home really upset over us being able to have a burger?" Col. Dan Groves, head of operations at Kandahar airport, asked. "Do they really consider that we have it easy in this war zone?"

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