Thursday, February 18, 2010

WO2 Sean Semple Frontine Blog

The Mirror

IT'S day three of our gripping diary from WO2 Sean Semple - our correspondent who is with Manouevre Support Group in IED-infested Shawal, Helmand Province.

Moshtarak Day 3 - IED Nightmare

It was a long day, and a tense day. Good and bad.

Bad because we took two contact IEDs. Good because we sustained no injuries and the vehicles had minimal damage.

We spent the morning in our leaguer - that’s where our 44-vehicles are arranged in an armoured metal box with Viking APCs and their weapons systems facing out - waiting for one of the vehicles which was involved in the strike to come back from where it was hit – about 500 metres outside our camp.

They were returning from a job, we could see them in the distance, when suddenly there was smoke, and a bang. Contact IED. We waited, concerned about the lads, but they were fine.

In the meantime we met some of the locals. Chatted to them, and we had a pretty good reception. I spoke to one of the local elders. He said he was happy we were here. This year was the first time he had grown wheat rather than poppy.

We also gave some medical assistance. Strange morning: on one site of our location we were listening to people telling us they needed schools and hospitals and wanted the Afghan army to provide security. On the other side of the leaguer we were being IED by people wanting to kill and main. That’s Afghanistan.

We moved off in the afternoon. Driving past compounds surrounded by poppy fields. The atmospherics weren’t great. Something didn’t feel right. It was one of those moments when the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

As we approached a group of compounds, the locals had vanished. Seconds later, we took another IED. The vehicle I was in had driven over the device 30 seconds before it went off.

Thank God, again no injures – in both cases the guys inside had felt a thump, the dust and sand kicked up about them, but the armour held. Although they were safe we needed to carry out some repairs before we could get moving. And it was getting dark.

Some of the locals came out to watch. Not hostile, more curious than anything else. But we became conscious of the size of the convoy. We were a large target. In the open. In the dark.

We suspected the IED may have been a command wire IED, which would have meant Taliban in the area. We had a tense hour. Waiting for the repairs to be done, whilst keeping an eye out for anyone wanting to take us on.

In that situation you made the best of things. We put up a lot of illumination – front, sides and rear to monitor movement –as the lads cracked on. Eventually we moved and got to our new location. We breathed a sigh of relief. Like I said, it was a long day.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the update info we have been waiting all day after welfare rang carls wife lou.

    it has but our minds at ease.

    carls dad