A Reservist's Tale Of A Tour

Posts Tagged ‘handover

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Camps in Afghanistan are interesting places. They’re essentially small cities, more or less entirely self-contained, and designed to provide space for residents to live, work, play, and generally enjoy a comfortable existence during their residency.

Camps are run by the Mayor’s Cell. There is an actual Mayor, though he’s appointed by virtue of his job, rather than elected. He employs a number of officers who look after everything from housing (billeting) to food services, to contracting services, to managing classroom/office space, to discipline on certain matters like water consumption. There’s a fire department, a post office, shops, a telephone exchange. There’s a small army of local nationals (Afghans) who do maintenance work, run the DFAC, and so on. It is a very busy place at times.

As far as water consumption goes, the hope I have is that the massive snowfall Afghanistan has “enjoyed” this winter will make sure that the aquifers are well replenished and hopefully we won’t have any issues with water supplies. Right now there are none, but with the summer coming and some movements into my camp on the horizon that may change. Problems have happened before, there are posters about rationing to be found in some places, for now mostly common sense prevails. Note that this is water for washing and so on. Drinking water is all bottled water, which is abundant. There are “kiosks” literally everywhere piled high with bottled water – mostly from Uzbekistan, some from a plant in Bagram that is as I understand it Afghan-owned.

That’s actually one of the interesting things in the DFAC – stuff comes from all over. Pepsi products from Germany. Coke from the UAE. Orange juice from Uzbekistan. Milk from Bahrain. It’s a little bizarre to think about how out supply chain works.

Of course, for all the cozy atmosphere here, and it really is, there is no escaping the reality of the place. The camp is ringed with Hesco Bastion walls, topped with barbed wire. Observation towers surround it. The entrance point has a complex system of controls for anyone entering, manned by armed guards with no sense of humour. Bunkers are situated around the camp in case of an indirect fire attack. This is, after all, a military encampment in the heart of a country with an active, dangerous insurgency.

Part of inclearance is a series of boring briefings – don’t play with feral animals lest you get rabies, reviews of ROEs and other policies, and even a trip to the clearing bay to prove you can safely handle

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Written by Nick

March 2, 2012 at 4:09 am