Day 1 – Kandahar

I flew from Dubai this morning and it was a smooth ride. I started getting a sense of where I was going when I saw guys checking in their body armour before the flight. We touched down in Kandahar Air Field just before midday and I had a rush of adrenaline for no particular reason. Maybe it was the barbed wire everywhere, maybe it was the signs saying what level of threat was current. Maybe it was the idea that I didn’t know what the hell to do next. But just at that moment a familiar face appeared at the fence and told me to join the queue to check my passport at the gate in exchange for an ISAF pass.

Then there were the rules.
– No walking unaccompanied
– No driving
– Head to the bunker with any rocket warning
– No photos of planes or ramps (runways)

Highlights:
*The hot pit – for ‘hot’ (with engine-running) refuelling of choppers. But, my luck, there wasn’t a single one to land while I was there.
* Jingle trucks – proudly decorated with sparkly colourful bling. No idea what for.
* ‘Cambridge’ for lunch – the British DFAC (mess hall?)
* ‘Niagara’ for dinner – US DFAC
* My UN Afghanistan mug
* My NATO ISAF cloth patch

Something I’m looking forward to tomorrow is seeing ‘Australia’… with its very own Australia Post mailbox.

Other random facts…

* It costs US$1500 to feed a soldier for a month (what recession?)
* The population here is 15-20,000 with an expected growth to 30,000 or more with Obama’s troop surge
* I’m not sure but I think Mark said it has about a 20km radius. It’s huge.
* Americans control this base and everyone else is effectively known as a TCN – third country national
* NATO has a rule that sleeves are mandatory, no singlets allowed

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Comments

  • Token  On 21 May, 2009 at 10:45

    What TF were you doing in Afghanistan ding dong?? Did you do a story because I didn’t see anything.

    You need to Tweet or FB these things. I saw mentions, but no reasons.

    Skype me. You’re never online.

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