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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

03 Sep 08. Triumph for British forces in Boy’s Own-style Kajaki mission. It was 2.30am when the convoy finally reached Camp Zeebrugge, crawling through the moonless night like a herd of prehistoric beasts, headlights peering into the dust ahead, brakes squealing at the stars above. As attack helicopters circled overhead, and mortar rounds thumped in the distance, the first of the juggernauts came into sight – a 36-wheel, 34-tonne tank transporter carrying a container plastered in Koranic verses. Then came another. And another. And more and more until the entire road through the camp was blocked by a procession of lorries, mine-clear-ers, bulldozers and armoured personnel carriers that stretched at times for more than 2 1/2 miles. This was the moment when British troops completed one of their most complex and daring operations since the Second World War: outfoxing the Taleban to deliver a giant new turbine to the Kajaki Dam in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. In doing so they marked a turning point that Nato commanders hope will prove decisive in the battle for Afghan hearts and minds. The Times was the only newspaper to witness the convoy’s arrival in Kajaki at the end of its perilous and painfully slow five-day drive northwards from the southern city of Kandahar, the former Taleban stronghold. “We’ve been drinking a lot of Red Bull,” said Corporal Barry Guthrie, a 29-year-old driver in the convoy who had slept for eight hours in total since leaving Kandahar on Wednesday evening. “It’s been pretty exciting and emotional at times with three guys in the cabin in 50 degrees-plus. All the way we were expecting to get whacked, but it never happened.” It was a task of epic proportions, inspiring comparisons with Commando magazine, Mad Max, the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 and the relief of the Siege of Mafeking in
1900. The mission was to take 220 tonnes of turbine and other equipment, worth millions of pounds, across 100 miles of some of the most hostile and heavily mined territory in Afghanistan. (Source: The Times)
Comment: We would like to pass on our heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved in this epic operation which shows clearly how ell the British Army functions and how it is helping to improve the conditions in Afghanistan.

26 Aug 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. “Significant work is ongoing to identify the options to further improve the reliability of the airbridge [to Operational theatres] in the long term.” (MoD, 26 Aug 08.)
Newman and Spurr Consultancy won a contract worth some £2m to deliver JCOVE training to all OP TELIC (and OP HERRICK) pre-deployment training events in the UK and Germany, as well as training in-theatre. (MoD, 28 Aug 08.)
Comment: The Joint Combat Operation Virtual Environment (JCOVE) system includes a commercial game which enables drivers from The Royal Logistic Corps to practice ‘Tactics, Techniques and Procedures’ for road convoy operations. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0834, 01 Sep 08)

26 Aug 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Since the Prime Minister’s statement on 22 Jul 08, “no further announcements have been made regarding troop numbers and deployments and no imminent announcements are planned”. (MoD, 26 Aug 08.)
A Foreign Office Minister commented on the release of the UN Office on Drugs 2008 Opium Survey for Afghanistan. The statement concluded: “Following decades of conflict which destroyed Government institutions, it will take a long time for Afghanistan to be in a position to run a self-sustaining legal economy, Police Force, justice system and public services. We are in this for the long haul.”. (FCO, 26 Aug 08.)
Comment: The UN issued statements (26/27 Aug 08) expressing “grave concern” over the numbers of civilian victims caused by a (US) aerial bombardment in the Shindand District of Herat Province on 21 Aug 08. 90 civilians were said to have been killed, including 60 children, and 15 other villagers wounded. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS AN

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