Rocket attacks on KAF are nothing new. In fact they happen on a relatively frequent basis and they eventually become a part of life here that you accept. At first it was something exciting and dangerous. A rocket flies through the sky and lands in some part of the base. After that, the alarm sounds and everyone runs for cover in the bunkers or puts on their protective vests and helmets. But, after a while, they become almost like background noise, a nuisance that we have all become accustomed to. Of course, we continue to seek cover for our own safety but the attacks have lost their novelty.
This week one such rocket attack took place and renewed my concern for attacks on the base. One evening as I was walking across the base and out in the open a rocket was sent in and flew almost directly over my head. The whistling sound of a rocket flying through the air is just like one would see in any Hollywood movie. My first instinct, probably the same as any other person, was to stop and look skyward. For that first half-second you wonder “What is that sound and where is it coming from?”. But once you realize what it is – again like most people – instead of ducking or running for cover, you freeze for just a moment. Unsure exactly where it is coming from gives you little incentive to run and take cover lest you run in the wrong direction. But by that point, it is probably too late anyhow. Then, I heard the distinctive sound of metal crashing into the ground but what was noticeably missing was the sound of an explosion that you suspect would follow. The rocket landed about 100 meters away from where I was standing but fortunately was a dud.
I have no specific knowledge about these rockets, but I would suspect that had the rocket not been a dud and had exploded as it most likely should have done, I still would have been at a safe distance. However, there still remains that uneasy feeling knowing that this one wasn’t one of those attacks where you find out the next day where it landed. This was one where you were an eyewitness to where it landed. It is that gentle reminder that you are no longer at home in Canada but you are in the midst of a fight – where the stakes are real. I won’t deny that it wasn’t a bit of excitement and that it gave me a little rush. Plus, it is now a good war story to pass on to friends back home. But, all excitement and war stories aside, Afghanistan remains a dangerous place and there are those individuals out there just beyond the wire who mean to cause us significant harm. It is a sobering reminder of the reality that we face each day.
I hope that things remain well on the home front. I continue to do well and remain positive about the goals that I am here to accomplish. I see progress being made and that serves as my source of inspiration to think that we can and are making a difference. Also over the past few weeks I have received a few emails from friends as well as complete strangers who pass on their wishes for a safe tour and ask questions about those things which interest them. I thank all of you for your interest and support. As I have said before, it is the support you receive from back home that makes it that much easier to do what you need to do so far from home. And as always, if you have any further questions or comments please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org