- 'Thrill killer' Hemming jailed
- Homegrown terror risks by numbers
- Man arrested after police chase
- Three dead in fatal 'neighbourhood dispute'
- Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues
- Gone with the wind: Keppel Prince Engineering to sack 100 workers
- 'Violence, unsafe sex and drugs'
- Why Rosie Batty erupted
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- Colin Lacivita on Man arrested after police chase The Police should have gotten a couple of truckies to setup a road block and then abandon their trucks. This would really ... more
- PatQuickCrazy on Man arrested after police chase We could do what the Greens like to do for anything and everything like this...how about we just ban cars? more
- Aria Judilla on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues @GIW - Rather than just bag Mylene personally maybe you could actually point out which part of her post you think was ... more
- david lucas on Man arrested after police chase Dont the police have road spikes? This has gone too long putting many people in small town and on the road at risk more
- MskK on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues You surely have to ask what all these attacks have as a common denominator.... That would be Islam! more
- PJ on Gone with the wind: Keppel Prince ... Its time we faced facts. Australians subsidise Renewable Energy to the tune of $21 Billion now just so its electricity can ... more
- GIW on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues mylene, your comments are just so unbelievable. Get your Labor/Socialist brain into a right mind and say something sensible, ... more
- David on Gone with the wind: Keppel Prince ... Why do they blame the government? Seems to me that they're just using it as an excuse to reduce staff to make more money more
- PJ on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues Morning Neil, I listen with shock at the interview with that Professor.1. tax payer funded job programmes 2. more free ... more
- Peggy on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues I say, let the Jihadists go and hopefully they won't come back for whatever reson but change laws so that they can't come ... more
- Peggy on Why Rosie Batty erupted Someone failed this little boy that's for sure and this is what this is all about.Everyone must answer all questions ... more
- Linda on Why Rosie Batty erupted @ Heather, the police are not stupid. My husband has dealt with hundreds of court orders over his career. The problem is ... more
- GIW on Why Rosie Batty erupted I agree with you @Damo and like you was not game enough to say anything. I was asking that same question from the beginning. more
- mylene on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues More people are going to get killed in Australia in domestic incidents and disputes with neighbours than terrorism. You ... more
- Ben on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues This is one reason why security should be tight at government premises and that includes a ban on wearing the burka in ... more
- Pradman on Parliament in lockdown as hunt continues Meanwhile all burqa wearers are welcome in Canberra. more
- Heather on Why Rosie Batty erupted I feel for Rosie Batty ' s loss of her son Luke. It seems the Andersons actions are attributed to MI when it should be ... more
- Factsseeker on Why Rosie Batty erupted What is the matter with our conservative media. There was a child killed here ! The coronial inquiry is being held to try ... more
- Damo on Why Rosie Batty erupted I know i will cop it for saying this but my understanding of this is: Rosie got a intervention order against her husband. ... more
- IBARKER on Why Rosie Batty erupted This one reason why she should not enter Politics. more
Outside the wire
It’s not something we thought we’d get the chance to do – go outside the wire. Simply, it means leaving the relative safety of the Tarin Kot base and going on patrol.
We got the invite to head out with a platoon of men in Bushmasters for a security check on a new road being built out to the northwest.
There comes that sinking feeling in the gut. The genuineness of this war is strong enough inside the wire – with the barricades, bunks and stocked mess – but it seems to get a little too real when you start travelling the roads.
Producer Tom Andronas and I were told to meet the platoon ‘through the blue gate’ first thing in the morning. We finished up all our broadcasts across the Fairfax Radio Network, grabbed our combat body armour, helmets, ballistic goggles and knocking knees and went on through the gate.
The phrase I’ve picked up through training and dealing with the soliders – warry. When someone is armed to their gritted teeth, when bullets are whizzing and when steely looks are walking patrol, then it’s ‘warry’.
As in a couple of troops discussing a situation, one might say ‘Geez mate, that sounds a bit warry’.
Well, through the blue gates, things were very bloody warry.
Enormous blokes with battle-rubbed guns were gathered. They were loaded with radios, ammo, cables, labels stating their blood groups, dog-tags, pockets, and other hidden things that were for them to know.
But under the helmets, there were plenty of smiles and cheek. They poked some fun at each other and chatted about the footy – the merits of AFL over NRL (or the other way) seems the usual tussle.
I realised that this exercise – that was making me bite through the nails and skin on the end of my fingers – was a day job for these guys. They could have been standing around in an office kitchen, or at a building site unpacking the tools. Instead they were at war and preparing to deal with danger.
We loaded into the Bushmaster. These beasts of the army are getting a good name. They’re saving lives and letting the troops get into some tough areas with increased safety. To me, I can’t figure out if it’s like a ruddy big 4WD or a small tank. Either way, I was thanking heaven for every precious metal plate that sat under my bottom.
The boys chatted more about the footy. We took off and rolled through gate. Then boys flicked the serious switch. Everything was watched. Everything was checked. Nothing was an accident.
It’s a great thing when you get the chance to watch people good at their jobs.
We went through the town of Tarin Kot. Poor shop fronts and poor people. I could tell the homes from the businesses.
Then, along the road they were laying down, and into the country side. It was beautiful. At the start there was more green than I would have thought. It became more unfruitful as we went along.
There was a stunning mix of pink and purple flowers. Field after field. I commented on it the digger next to me. He pointed out they were poppy fields – supply the world with 90 per cent of its opium. An incredible figure.
The growing of drugs is complex business in Afghanistan. These farmers having been living off the trade for years. For the army to roll in and stop it would give the Taliban a chance to come back in.
But it made us think about all the people killed by drugs every year across the world. More victims of the Afghanistan War.
We rolled. Children ran out to wave, following and stumbling as kids should behind their parents. A littlest and sweetest of girls gave a thumbs-up to our driver. He returned it.
We chatted to some locals and got out for a good look. And the more you look the more you know that the problems are complex and the solutions are slow and dangerous.
Back inside the wire, I’m still trying to figure out what to make of it.
Regardless, we’re the ones who put that new road there – may it carry food and medicine, and get the kids to school. Hope seems to be as big a part of the solution as anything else.
I'm interested to know what foreign language skills the soldiers feel they need to have to communicate with the locals. Also what intercultural awareness training they have had and whether they felt it was adequate.
Thanks Justin. Think it's great what you are doing in showing us what an enormously skilled group of people we have in the ADF.Sue Wednesday 24 April, 2013 - 11:47 AM