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How dangerous it is depends on who you are working for and what you are doing. You do have to keep in mind that if you are outside of the wire, and something happens, there is a chance that you could fall into the wrong hands. The bad guys over there don't care if you are a civilian. You are just a poker chip to them, and if you don't get rescued right away you are likely to wind up as a guest star on the hit show "Honey, I've Lost my Head" on Al Jazeera.

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And it's 'asymmetric' combat. Never been to SouthWEST Asia, but assymetric means there isn't any front lines so no rear, safe areas. Even big, established, 'secure' bases are targets if and when. Like the experienced posters said, there's risk in everything. One would probably be safer in Afghan than on some streets in the US, just don't be stupid.

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