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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April 2008, 05:11 GMT 06:11 UK
Afghanistan diary: day one
Newsbeat's Tulip Mazumdar and Andy Brownstone are in Afghanistan for a special series of programmes looking at life on the front line for British soldiers and seeing how things have changed for the ordinary people of Afghanistan. In the first instalment of their diary, Andy describes the journey from the Indian city of Delhi to Camp Bastion.

Troops
Afghan troops, trained up by coalition forces, arrive at Camp Bastion

We fly out of Delhi which is hot and humid even at 5.30am. The airport is a cross between a circus and Faulty Towers.

One sign says 'A World Class Airport Awaits You', then in smaller letters at the bottom 'Til then inconvenience is regretted'. Classic Indian humour.

Two hours later we're in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. It's cool and cloudy as we're ushered past guards with AK47s and given the runaround by baggage men all wanting to help and be tipped generously for it.

We see very little of Kabul, suffice to say it looks like a city that's been part of a war-torn country for decades.

Plane
Each flight that arrives at Camp Bastion brings fresh supplies

Lots of rubble, lots of shacks and shanties, very poor roads, and crowds of people who look like they're busy, but on closer inspection they seem to be doing very little.

We pay a quick visit to the BBC house/office which has a great swimming pool that is sadly empty. Then it's on to the military airport. We're driven there in 4x4s with no reg plates and plenty of bullet proof protection.

The airport's full of Afghan soldiers watching Maria Carey on MTV.

It's bizarre to think this country, which under the Taleban before 2001 couldn't even listen to music, are now watching half naked girls on telly.

The Afghan troops have been trained up by coalition forces and are on the Hercules flight with us to Camp Bastion where they'll go off to fight the Taleban. They look scruffy, badly paid, and nervous.

We get to sit on the flight deck which is a real treat. It's like something out of the Millennium Falcon.

View of Camp Bastion
Camp Bastion feeds, sleeps and cleans 3000 people a day

I'm very hot and sweaty (the crew said it was once 63 degrees Celsius in the cockpit) and we have to wear our body armour and helmets until we're out of firing range.

But they do have tea making facilities on board just behind the pilot's seat. I get to wear a headset so we can communicate with the crew, who wear leather gloves to fly in because they stop their hands sweating on the controls.

An hour and a half later Camp Bastion appears on the horizon. It's a well organised operating base where 3000 troops are living at the moment.

The aircon's broken in my tent, there's dust everywhere, but hey, I'm in the middle of the desert in a conflict zone. It's the stuff a boy's dreams are made of...



SEE ALSO
Afghanistan diary: day two
Monday, 28 April 2008, 05:11 GMT |  Newsbeat
Afghanistan diary: day three
Monday, 28 April 2008, 17:16 GMT |  Newsbeat
British forces 'treat injured Taleban'
Monday, 28 April 2008, 05:11 GMT |  Newsbeat
In pictures: Camp Bastion hospital
Monday, 28 April 2008, 05:11 GMT |  The P Word


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