Letters from Afghanistan

Welcome to Kandahar, Roto Eight

This week, the first replacements from roto eight, out of Edmonton, arrived at KAF, and their first night on the base was perforated by the rocket attack alarm. Welcome to Kandahar, gentlemen. Eventually, that sound will be very familiar for them, since they are a winter roto, and the Taliban's active fighting season is in the summer, thus leaving the winter for indirect fire attacks such as the 82mm Katyusha rockets that they launch from time to time at KAF.

For us, the tour is winding down, with some people going home in a matter of days, which I look at with a degree of envy, since I will be here for another month. However, once six months have passed, one more is trivial, and in any case, there is nothing I can do about my departure date but accept it and take the few more dollars of danger pay that are not usually available in Canada. The other guys now joke that I'm becoming part of a majority, and admittedly, it is fun to be able to quote a movie line in English and have people understand the joke. Overall, this roto for me has been long and uneventful, which I imagine puts my mother's mind at peace, even I would have preferred otherwise. I was able to go outside the wire (out on operations) a few times, for which I guess I should be thankful, because some of our people did not leave KAF even once. But then, I understand that not everybody has the same disposition to go towards the danger zone as I have, and I in no way look down on them. In fact, I wish there had been more like that - I would have had more chances to go out, but alas, such is life. You can't always get what you want. For now, I spend my nights writing (working on a novel), and playing chess. Which I hate. But, it passes time.