The Green Zone, where we operate is a strip of irrigated land either side of the Helmand River. It is made up of poppy and wheat fields, tree lines and deep irrigation ditches. Interspersed among all of this are mud walled compounds that could have been there for hundreds of years. The fields are divided up in a similar way to England with tree lines and irrigation ditches taking the place of hedges. The heat can be intense. When you take a knee in the wheat field the heat is trapped among the stalks and it can get oppressive.
The first few days we were here the Poppies were in full bloom and you could be mistaken for calling the local area beautiful. Since we have been here, we have watched the poppy harvested and the fields cleared for maize and the wheat ripen and turn yellow. The Afghans trying as much as possible to carry on with their everyday lives despite being caught in the middle of an intense conflict between ourselves and the Taliban.
The local Afghans are an interesting lot. 30 years of near perpetual conflict has left them philosophical about their future and their present. Most of the elders are illiterate although they are no fools; they are resigned to their fate of being middlemen in our current deployment.
As far as welfare in the FOB is concerned we need to correct the expectation that there is internet and text link in the FOB. There was the former but all the terminals are broken and are now back in Bastion so the only means of communication is by Satellite Phone.
My job as platoon commander is made so easy by the hard work, dedication and diligence of the men under my command. They are an inspiration to me and you should all be very proud.
Corporal Steve Childs
1 Section Commander