Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BBC Radio 1 : Reflecting on a week in Afghanistan

By Sima Kotecha
Newsbeat US reporter in Afghanistan

All week Newsbeat has been with British troops in Afghanistan for a series of special reports on life in one of the world's most dangerous countries. In the last instalment of her diary, Sima Kotecha reflects on her time there and prepares to head home.

It's been a day - and a night - of contrasts at Lashkar Gah.

Our last night here and the evening started with a sombre and moving memorial ceremony for the two soldiers killed near here in the past week.

It was a chance for the young servicemen and women to gather their thoughts and pay tribute to lost comrades.

Afterwards, we sat and talked to the soldiers. As ever, there were thoughts of home, of loved ones and lovers.

Also thoughts of the Taliban, their mission and, of course, food.

It's prepared here by a team of Sri Lankan chefs who make monster grub. It's tasty, very popular and eaten in vast quantities. There's lots of curry, too.

Then I spent some time with the Gurkhas who are based here.

They're from Nepal. Veteran Gurkhas have been in the news lately because of Joanna Lumley's efforts to get them the right to settle in Britain.

Loyal and fierce British Army fighters for generations, they command respect - and in their enemies, fear.

We talked in Hindi about their duties here and watched TV together.

Then just time for a few last photos with the lads: I'll miss them.

Now waiting for the Chinook that takes us to Kandahar on the first leg of our journey home and away from this beautiful, troubled country.

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