Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sargeant Stewart McCrone, Quick Reaction Force Commander, 16 Signals Unit at Camp Souter, Kabul.

The QRF was tasked to undertake an exploitation patrol in urban Kabul, close to the airport. The terrain may be different from Helmand but the risks are just as great….

It’s hot at 2pm with the temperature constantly rising, and the patrol, a recce for new routes for emergency vehicles, always turns into something else. As well as dominating the ground there’s always scope for snap Vehicle Check Points and always at the back of your mind amongst the complex compounds is the hearts and minds of the locals.

The patrol started well, though lumbered with the General Purpose Machine Gun and excess support equipment for patrol, the next few hours were going to be tiresome. As we entered the compounds we were bombarded by children – a good atmospheric sign that nothing had been pre-planned from insurgents on our route, though nothing is ever certain.

Maintaining our relationship with the locals can be a challenge at times and this was no different. With the mission in hand, the locals can be overwhelming and large crowds were on us in minutes.

Allowing search dogs to complete their tasks can be tricky as most Afghans do not like dogs, especially in the vehicles. However, with sound control and good interpreter things often run smoothly.

The patrol lasted a couple of hours and water was the first thing in mind. It’s quite difficult to win the hearts and minds and hold good relations when the local populus needs water and all they see is soldiers with it; so to that end we limit the time that we take on water and keep it well out of sight from the locals, so not to cause further disruption to the task.

Patrol all in, water on board, just waiting for the next set of orders………

Picture credit: Squadron Leader Dee Taylor


  1. You are doing an amazing job, so responsibly. Thank you for all that you do. You are so appreciated back home here in Britain.

  2. Thanks for the blog; an insight into a very different world and the risks you guys face everyday. You guys are never forgotten in the UK.

  3. And you are never forgotten in Canada! Thank you!

  4. Very interesting blog - I don't think you can ever afford to let your guard down - children or no children - winning the hearts and minds of the locals is great - but you have your job to do and you have to remember that the insurgents/Taleban don't care who or what they use to create 'news' - look after yourselves - Proud of You All x

  5. Great pictures Dee xxx