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Afghanistan downtime sparks discussion

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 03 March 2010

Trooper Pete Sheppard posts his latest blog from Operation Moshtarak, revealing the difficulty of identifying insurgents and the conversations among the troops.

Lance Corporal Gary Donnigan phones home

Trooper Pete Sheppard is a radio operator with the Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF), which is part of Operation Moshtarak against insurgents in Helmand Province.

It was yet another quiet day for the BRF.

The troops went out through the night last night on routine patrols to observe any enemy activity. Upon returning to our leaguer they took the opportunity to catch up on much deserved rest.

A few of the guys have been talking amongst each other expressing their desire not to come back out here to Afghanistan. Some of the lads want to just leave the army altogether. I can appreciate the stress it puts the lads on with regards to their wife and children if they have any back at home.

For me though, the military seems to be the right career.

It has been quiet cloudy today, not as warm as recent days which I hope is just a temporary thing. However the nice cool breeze is refreshing.

A couple of vehicles went and got some food re-supplies yesterday. Included in this was American rations, water, an assortment of chocolate bars and a load of sweets sent through from the welfare packs. We all really appreciate these.

Read more from Trooper Pete Sheppard and coverage of Op Moshtarak
- Tpr Sheppard: identifying insurgents on the frontline
- Tpr Sheppard: rest after ten days fighting the Taliban
- Embedded with British troops in Helmand

A couple of our troops went out on a patrol about 1600 and received some small arms fire. They returned fire as trained and took cover.

We were getting a lot of insurgent chatter over their radios saying that they could see us and were going to start firing again. But nothing further came from this.

The insurgent took cover in a compound and we waited for our air assets to try and positively ID him with a weapon. We couldn’t see anything so they withdrew. Once back at our location, our air assets picked up two assessed insurgents with one believed to be carrying a weapon of some sort across his back.

So we sent another patrol out to follow these guys up. Once the patrol had eyes on the two insurgents we saw them walk away and could not do anything about it.

Maybe a busy night for us tonight.

Tim from the fire support team dropped two packs of noodles that he was cooking. He got those from a welfare pack. He is not a happy man.

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