When your friends are not your friends. From Peter Worthington in the Toronto Sun, with thanks to EPG:
Canadian soldiers attached to the Afghan National Army (ANA) have stirred up a hornet’s nest in Kabul by being too efficient.
They’ve “discovered” a huge Soviet ammunition dump a few kilometres from Camp Julien with the potential of obliterating the camp, as well as most of Kabul….
In the dusty foothills, 10 minutes drive from Camp Julien (population 2,000), 82 buried bunkers, each 20-metres long, housed thousands of Soviet FROG missiles (one step down from Scud missiles), and every variety of rocket and mortar shells.
Some of the FROG missiles were still in their original cases. Some heaped in the open. Some stacked to the roof in the unlocked, open bunkers. Much of the ordnance had warheads removed to collect the explosive for homemade bombs — or for blasting at a nearby quarry.
“Unbelievable!” was Maj. Brian Hynes’ reaction when he saw them. “We (troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) have been here some two years, and no one knew this was at our back door. Unbelievable.”
In truth, the Soviet bunkers were well-known in an area supposedly under control of the Afghan Militia Force (AMF) — not to be confused with the ANA. The AMF is paid by various warlords and so their loyalty is to them….
Many of the rockets, missiles and shells had been pried open for the explosives, which are used peacefully to blast mountain rock into gravel, and by those who want to make bombs that disrupt Kabul….
I’ve never seen anything like it. The feeling is that AMF soldiers were selling access to the dump or permitting friends to enter it.
Littered with burned out Soviet military vehicles, the whole area is a junk pile strewn with every sort of live ammunition, fuses, unexploded shells, rockets, etc., all supposedly under the authority of Belgian troops (at the moment), who ignored it.
In the midst of examining the bunkers and taking photos, a Swedish UN guy, a French major and a German colonel arrived to make a fuss and order the Canadians to leave. The French major insisted his government had a deal with the Afghan government for the area, and ISAF had no business being there….
“I feel foolish that for eight days we’ve been watching our front, when at our back all this was going on and nobody cared,” said Sgt. Mazerolle.