Hotting up in Kandahar

Captain Jeremy Hahn, an armoured vehicle   commander with the Royal Dragoon Guards, is based in Kandahar for Operation HERRICK 12. Here he writes about pre-election violence in Kandahar and the comfort of missives from home.

With all the grim predictability that the White Star Line employees must have felt regarding the jewel in their nautical crown about one hundred years ago, as that ever-so-tedious iceberg hoved into view, knowing the ship didn’t quite have the turning circle of a polo pony, it is my duty to report that the situation has got worse in Kandahar.

Having callously crowed that the amount of violence was reducing and that the true enemy of soldiers deployed on operations is  boredom, it was perhaps inevitable that the last couple of weeks have been anything but.

We just had our busiest stretch of the tour and this is only going to increase as the orchestra in Kandahar plays out. The fact that we have been well utilised is good. It helps the time go more quickly, and I think there is not a young man (or woman) deployed here who does not keenly desire to be involved and ‘doing their bit’.

The sad fact is that the last few days have been brutal in the province. There has been another spate of members of the Afghan National Police being executed off duty, and the amount of Improvised Explosive Device incidents has risen. I am not entirely sure what the catalyst for this is, although one credible school of thought is that with the elections just a fortnight away this may be a desperate attempt to destabilise the region, and the country, in order to drive a wedge between the population and the agencies of governance. I do so hope the population are not negatively swayed.

One of the most unpleasant actions of last weekend was a multiple murder. A female politician, who is running for re-election, had a large number of her office and support staff murdered by insurgents. She is still running for office, and I admire her.  That there are people who can be so cruel and myopic, based on gender discrimination, is choking. This comes after another female politician was murdered in April in Baghlan. It is a stark reminder of the differences between our two countries, and the difficulties some people are having to endure in order to make a difference.

Genuine surprises are few and far between out here. The policeman with a speed camera hiding on the Woodstock Road last year and the time I was told I was cast as Titania (Queen of the fairies) in the school production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ when I was 14 (my voice hadn’t broken, so I started on the Marlboro Reds immediately and was soon reading the much more macho role of Bottom), being two examples. I was taken aback last week when it was brought to my attention that this bilge that I pass-off as a column and blog, due to the InterWeb, has been read by many thousands, and the responses were touching.  A big thank you to all of you who sent me birthday wishes and kind thoughts, and to those that made suggestions for the SOUPs  (Single Officer Unnecessary Purchases) and anyone who has taken the time to comment. At the risk of gushing like an under-water BP oil well, it means a great deal that people in the UK take such a positive interest in this soldier’s welfare. Thank you again.

As the temperature slowly starts to drop, and we approach the season ‘o’ mists and mellow fruitfulness’ the wildlife concern turns in the direction of the mosquito. Whilst these airborne disease-bearers of the insect world must exist for some higher purpose, I am entirely ignorant of what that may be. The worry is that if they are going to appear on the same size scale as the local ant community, it will be akin to being bitten by an albatross with teeth. I feel that a phalanx of windmills may be a more appropriate defence than netting.

7 thoughts on “Hotting up in Kandahar

  1. Thank you so much Jeremy for letting me “inside”.
    I have a friend who I haven’t heard from in about a week. Now I know why.

    You are doing an amazing job x
    Thank you x


  2. Thank you Jeremy for letting us know what you are all really going through!
    You sound tired! To be expected after what you are all enduring!
    Keep you spirits up! I and milions of others back home are routing for you and your collegues safe return. Pride in what you are doing for us sounds so trite but that is the only way I can describe what I feel for you all. Just stay alert (if possible through fatigue) and keep yourself safe!
    Oh yes!! Mind those flying things!!!lol
    Need some DDT sending???lol


  3. Dear Capt. Hahn:

    We are reading you in the USA as well and it’s encouraging to hear of the victories amid the stark reminders. Thanks for your service – it’s greatly appreciated. But let’s hold on the oil gushing jokes – we’re (the Florida Gulf Coast) a little sensitive about that right now ;p

    Praying for your safety.


  4. Thank you Jeremy for giving us insight into your days and what you are going through. I enjoy reading your blogs, they are written with a humour and seriousness.
    Take good care and stay safe


  5. Thank you for your compelling updates…it is a stark reminder of what you guys are trying to achieve out there!! i just wish we could support you that much more as this seems so futile…having just to say…and not take part as such..!!When i see the ‘lads’ giving up their ‘lives’ for everyone worldwide..I am most humble…if you are with anyone who is Welsh….pls ay a massive hello ‘Taff’ from me Dawn… South Wales…In the meantime please please all involved…keep Safe…..!!!!!


  6. Thankyou, I have a precious son heading out very soon and it’s strangly comforting to have an insight. Heads down, chins up boys. x


  7. Capt. Hann – I would have sent you some birthday wishes had I have remembered, clearly I did not … so Happy Birthday you fine chap. I will drink myself legless for the next two days in celebration of your passing anniversary.
    Stay Safe x Pauly


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