Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It's a paradox. Having achieved relative control of our new area the fight is now on to keep control.
The insurgent is tenacious as well as brutal. We treated a local who had stepped on and partially detonated a roadside bomb. He was flown by us to the hospital in Lashkar Gar.
During his stay there his family came to the patrol base where he had been treated to see if we had any news. As they departed they were followed.
We found out that the insurgent intended to question them and stop them ever talking to us again. The unveiled threat of the bully. We paid for his father to take a taxi to the hospital.
Our man now is back, down a foot unfortunately but extremely grateful for his treatment and speedy evacuation.
The Platoon Commander who organised the evacuation is now a family friend. An invitation to supper has been extended.
Of particular interest to the Afghans is the presence of a female medic. She provokes confusion and admiration in equal measure.
In this conflict the front line is not a line in the dust. It is waged over the human geography. It is politics with an admixture of other means; the battle for trust and support over coercion.
However, in Afghanistan people trust what they can see.
The presence of a patrol base may bring explosions and fighting but people feel safer.
The greatest paradox of all is that in our area, as the casualties in the security cordon continue, the centre of Sangin is as safe and prosperous as it as ever been.