Sangin River

August 27, 2007

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I arrived in Sangin this morning by helicopter and met up with the Queens Company, Grenadier Guards. The was a soldier in the Queens Company 20 years ago.

Vaughan inflight

When the Parachute Regiment were in Sangin last year they were subject to almost constant attack from the Taliban. Attacks now are relatively infrequent but you can see the destruction from last years fighting all around the base.
The Queen’s Company are working with the Afghan National Army in a role that they call “mentoring”. So the Sangin base also has Afghan troops billeted inside it.
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There is a river running through the camp where the soldiers can swim. It is very hot and so the river is their main source of recreation. I saw young Royal Anglian soldiers fishing. Apparently they had caught 6 fish.
The main activity is swimming and washing. Soldiers from the Afghan Army would do the same but more would sit and watch the British soldiers.
It reminded me of a time 5 years ago when I was accompanying Hazaras, an Afghan Shia community travelling to Kabul. The Asiatic looking Hazaras are reputed to be the tribe left behind by Ghengis Khan.
I asked one of them, when we stopped once, where the river was. I could hear it and needed to fill my water bottle. He led me there and when we arrived on the river bank he suggested that we both take off our clothes and that he could help me remove mine.
I recalled the incident when noticing that the Afghan army river observers had male pin-up posters with their bags. The British soldiers were too hot to be bothered.