British raise army in Desert of Death

#1
By Peter Graff

CAMP TOMBSTONE, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The British officer grins with pride as he tells of building an army from scratch in the Desert of Death.

Captain Nigel Booker holds hands -- a traditional sign of male affection -- as he walks with his Afghan counterpart, Major Hamid Ullah, a grizzled ex-Mujahideen fighter who has been waging guerrilla wars for all of Booker's own 29 years.

"What he doesn't know about warfare hasn't been written," Booker says. "And don't let him play you at draughts. He's murder.

Nearly five years after the fall of the Taliban, British paratroopers are only now deploying as the first large international peacekeeping force into the volatile south of Afghanistan.

But the key to their plan to impose security in Helmand -- a vast lawless province of desert, towering mountains and narrow river valleys that grows nearly a quarter of the world's heroin opium crop -- is to raise a new Afghan army brigade to take their place. It is no simple task.

Four months into an 18-month plan to create a 3,000-strong force for the province, more than a third has been raised.

But of the 1,177 now on the books, 250 are absent without leave, having failed to arrive from training in Kabul or wandered off.

Still, the British say they are slowly producing a surprisingly disciplined force, and having a wonderful time doing it.

"They are about two months out of training and they're in an insurgency, holding their ground to a very high standard," said Lieutenant-Colonel David Hammond, commander of the British mentoring team.

"They're bloody great company as well."

Source
 
#2
Livin_on_a_prayer said:
By Peter Graff
Captain Nigel Booker holds hands -- a traditional sign of male affection -- as he walks with his Afghan counterpart, Major Hamid Ullah, a grizzled ex-Mujahideen fighter who has been waging guerrilla wars for all of Booker's own 29 years.

"They're bloody great company as well."

Source
Bet they are mate!

May be traditional... bet he ends up getting slated for it!! :D
 
#4
But of the 1,177 now on the books, 250 are absent without leave, having failed to arrive from training in Kabul or wandered off.

In the desert of death?

Sounds more like desertion.

It doesn't sound as if they're coming back.

Mind you the Beeb would report it differently.
 
#5
eSeL said:
Livin_on_a_prayer said:
Captain Nigel Booker holds hands -- a traditional sign of male affection -- as he walks with his Afghan counterpart, Major Hamid Ullah,
Mortars?
Quite common in Pakistan also. I'm currently improving my arabic skills my learning with a friend of the family who is an arab and his, along with his libyan friends, have no idea of personal space or the discomfort you can feel when they are simply being friendly as their culture dictates.
 
#6
antphilip said:
eSeL said:
Livin_on_a_prayer said:
Captain Nigel Booker holds hands -- a traditional sign of male affection -- as he walks with his Afghan counterpart, Major Hamid Ullah,
Mortars?
Quite common in Pakistan also. I'm currently improving my arabic skills my learning with a friend of the family who is an arab and his, along with his libyan friends, have no idea of personal space or the discomfort you can feel when they are simply being friendly as their culture dictates.
Do you hold hands too? Awwwwwww, I love it when males bond! :p
 
#7
First saw this as a young lad in Cyprus. Two TURKS walked passed holding hands down in Famagusta. I was about to make some sarcastic comment when one old hand 'Gripped' me and said "Shut up lad", they can get nasty fast.
john
 
#8
jonwilly said:
First saw this as a young lad in Cyprus. Two TURKS walked passed holding hands down in Famagusta. I was about to make some sarcastic comment when one old hand 'Gripped' me and said "Shut up lad", they can get nasty fast.
john
and before you know it you have an arrse like a blood orange.
 
#9
"have no idea of personal space or the discomfort you can feel when they are simply being friendly as their culture dictates. "

Yep with you on that one!
 
#10
antphilip said:
eSeL said:
Livin_on_a_prayer said:
Captain Nigel Booker holds hands -- a traditional sign of male affection -- as he walks with his Afghan counterpart, Major Hamid Ullah,
Mortars?
Quite common in Pakistan also. I'm currently improving my arabic skills my learning with a friend of the family who is an arab and his, along with his libyan friends, have no idea of personal space or the discomfort you can feel when they are simply being friendly as their culture dictates.
And in India as well I think it's funny that these people would kill a mincer in public for being one yet we think that they are mincers for holding hands....ohhh the irony of it
 
#12
Livin_on_a_prayer said:
These countries still have the death sentance for homsexuality aswell...
So it is hand in hand.

Not hand in glove.
 
#13
brettarider said:
antphilip said:
eSeL said:
Livin_on_a_prayer said:
Captain Nigel Booker holds hands -- a traditional sign of male affection -- as he walks with his Afghan counterpart, Major Hamid Ullah,
Mortars?
Quite common in Pakistan also. I'm currently improving my arabic skills my learning with a friend of the family who is an arab and his, along with his libyan friends, have no idea of personal space or the discomfort you can feel when they are simply being friendly as their culture dictates.
And in India as well I think it's funny that these people would kill a mincer in public for being one yet we think that they are mincers for holding hands....ohhh the irony of it
I attempted to broach this subject with them, alas they simply said "no my friend. It is good yes". With this simple phrase I realised I was going to have to overcome my own social background and be even more tolerant of theirs. After all, as you say, they are just being friendly and would rather die than ever be thought of as homosexual. I suppose I/we who experiance this can also look at it as Cpt Booker has and use it to have better relations with other cultures. (end of touchy feely marlarky)

Doesn't stop me getting unnerved though :(
 

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