Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just another day in Afghanistan

Thursday, September 10. COP Herrera, Paktia Province

So I’m finally back in COP Herrera after a 3 months absence. Much has changed here since I left: new buildings, new personnel, new regulations banning the use of Humvees vehicles and the mood in the boys of Charlie Troop.

Charlie Troop has since lost one man killed in action, and two with serious injuries. The countless ambushes and close calls has seen the men unwilling to take more risks than necessary and many were happy if missions were scrubbed. It’s hard to imagine what’s going on inside the heads of these men who are so young and yet seen brutal combat.

I’ve seen old friends and made new ones and I’m happy to be with them even though my time is limited here. I will eventually say goodbye in a week or so and move to another outpost.

Anyway, I went on a foot patrol a couple of days ago with the new MP unit here. It was a patrol combined with practical exercises for the local ANP (Afghan National Police) whom the MPs has been training. Walk, set up checkpoint, search vehicles, people, hand out leaflets and ‘tag’ military age males. You know, military stuff. Once again, my physical condition is being called into question and even though it wasn’t walking down a steep mountain and carrying lots of shit, it was rough going walking at over 2000 metres. The patrol included two females MP and the only thought going through my little head was that I can’t ‘lose’ to them! Ok, the fact that they were half my age, each with a pack, one carrying a SAW and the other an AT-4 rocket means that I cannot be a ‘malu’. Such is the pressure I face! :D

Last night, they had a fire mission with the 120mm mortars and no, I didn’t get to shoot it but got a couple of cool photos through the night vision device.

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