Archived posts from category ‘Axe in Afghanistan ’07’

22.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Ten: Dutch Commander Defends Troops

This story should have run in The Washington Times. I wouldn’t know. As you read this, I am on an airplane somewhere over the Atlantic. The Dutch commander of a combined Dutch and Australian force in the southern province of Uruzgan on Wednesday defended the conduct of his troops amid hand-wringing from the Dutch Ministry [...]

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21.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Ten: Back to Work

At Kamp Holland near Tarin Kowt, the Dutch are mourning the loss of a second soldier: 44-year-old Sergeant Major Jos Leunissen, who died in a mortar accident during combat with Taliban forces around the town of Chura on Monday. I’m not attending the memorial service; I attended last week’s service for Private 1st Class Timo [...]

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20.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Nine: Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing

On June 15 in the tiny town of Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan’s southern Uruzgan province, a car laden with explosives raced down a narrow alley towards a Dutch M-113 armored personnel carrier trundling down a perpendicular street. Taking advantage of their healthy relationship with the town, a Dutch army civil affairs team, accompanied by a [...]

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20.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Nine: I’m Outta Here (Maybe)

On the way to my hooch, I passed one of my Aussie buddies. He was covered in grime, breathing hard and bent under his armor and gear. After nearly a week, their mission to protect the engineers working on the Tarin Kowt boys’ school had wrapped. But with all the fighting in Chura, there wasn’t [...]

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20.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Nine: Going Dutch

I’m on Dutch radio. It’s mostly gibberish to me.

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19.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Eight: R.I.P., Timo

In the bloody aftermath of the June 15 suicide attack on their patrol in the filthy little town of Tarin Kowt, the young soldiers of the Dutch army’s 42 Limburgse Jagers struggled to keep Timo Smeehuyzen from slipping away. Medics gave chest compressions to the severely injured 20-year-old from Amsterdam while an ambulance from Kamp [...]

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19.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Eight: Dutch Battle Taliban

Today The Washington Times ran the story I filed from the Battle for Tarin Kowt: A car packed with explosives exploded beside a Dutch armored personnel carrier outside a girl’s school in this shambling town of 100,000 on Friday afternoon, killing the driver, one Dutch soldier and around ten Afghans, including several children. The attack [...]

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19.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Eight: BBC Edition

Chris Vallance over at BBC Radio’s Pods and Blogs put together this piece on the fighting in Tarin Kowt, combining some audio I recorded with a brief interview. (My segment seems to be around 10 minutes in.) I don’t have the throughput to make the link work here in Afghanistan, but maybe you folks back [...]

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18.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Seven: Taliban Are Jerks

I had just finished interviewing an Australian engineer about a reconstruction project at a boys’ school in Tarin Kowt when there was a thunderclap. Debris hurtled into the air in a column of smoke a couple blocks away. And I thought, “Suicide bomber.” Just a few minutes earlier, I’d been out on the street outside [...]

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17.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Six: *Cough* *Cough* *Bang* *Bang*

At first glance I figured the Dutch Army Pzh-2000 howitzer was painted tan. Then I poked a finger an eighth of an inch through the “paint” that was actually fine dust that had adhered to the steel hull after being ground up and tossed into the air by the vehicle’s treads. It’s a thankless job, [...]

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17.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Six: Apaches See All

The Dutch mission in Uruzgan province is focused on reconstruction, but building stuff in such a dangerous environment requires lots of security. Hence the heavy weapons at Kamp Holland near Tarin Kowt. When the camel dung hits the fan, the Quick Reaction Force races out in their armored personnel carriers while Apaches buzz overhead. These [...]

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15.06.07
Axeghanistan Day Five: Welcome to Tarin Kowt

An hour-long gut-churning flight in a West Virginia Air Guard C-130 was all it took to teleport me from the shambling, somewhat goofy, Third-World Disneyland that is U.N.-occupied Kabul to Tarin Kowt, a tiny dusty hamlet wedged between steep mountain ranges and sitting astride the Taliban’s main supply route from Pakistan. Here, a couple thousand [...]

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