Nightly News   |  December 25, 2013

Christmas in Kabul 'just another day'

More than 40,000 US troops in Afghanistan are spending Christmas far from home and far from their families. Kiko Itasaka reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> american troops still in afghanistan are spending christmas far from home and far from their families. for most of them, it will likely be the last christmas there before coming home as the u.s. prepares to withdraw most troops by next summer. here's our report tonight from kabul .

>> reporter: there are no silent nights for the troops in afghanistan for the nearly 35,000 u.s. soldiers all is not calm. just ask specialist may, it's business as usual .

>> even though it's christmas it feels like just another day.

>> reporter: at camp phoenix in kabul , home to 3500 american troops and civilians, everyone is doing their best to keep spirits bright. in the mailroom, christmas packages are handed out. 22,000 pounds of mail a day, and a reminder that folks back home care . in the dining hall , thousands of meals served with over 2,000 pounds of turkey.

>> reporter: at church, weapons put aside for carols and prayers. troops say they are proud to serve their nation and help the people of afghanistan . but they admit it's really hard to be so far away on christmas day .

>> good morning, merry christmas .

>> reporter: sergeant vaz kez, a single mom with two little girls in alabama works in military intelligence . she keeps her mind and body fit with her gym buddies and calls them her battle buddies. this is her first year away for christmas and she said it hurts.

>> my 5-year-old asked for a genie lamp so she should wish me home.

>> reporter: the magic of technology transports her home on skype.

>> merry christmas !

>> merry christmas .

>> don't cry, baby.

>> reporter: sergeant rome misses her three boys, too, but says she can cope.

>> i have made a second family.

>> reporter: a band of brothers and sisters sharing their christmas far from home . nbc news, kabul .

>> one more note from afghanistan , a photo that caught our eye. army sergeant daniel purdue and his wife christina, about 7,000 miles away this christmas . he's in afghanistan . she's in new york. each holding up half a christmas card , then using an iphone app the to combine them. on their facebook page christina wrote, we may not get to be together for the holiday, but we still manage to come together with our holiday photo.