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Page last updated at 06:32 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 07:32 UK
Afghanistan diary: Day three

By Andy Brownstone
Newsbeat online reporter in Afghanistan

Troops in a chopper
Troops look nervous as they are transported by chopper

We're moved to another British base, but instead of a helicopter ride, we're picked up by an overnight supply convoy.

Eleven vehicles set out to drop food, kit, ammo and troops at three different bases.

We're due to be picked up at 11pm and dropped 7km (4.3 miles) away at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Robinson, where we stayed back in April.

The convoy is delayed before it gets to us because one of the vehicles breaks down, and then troops spot a roadside bomb.

Eventually nine vehicles arrive. The plan is to go up the road to FOB Inkerman, drop off some troops and containers, pick up a couple of people and then double back, past our base and on to FOB Rob.

I'm in the cab of a massive truck that has one of those metal shipping containers on the back.

There's a driver and what's called top cover, which is a gunman who stands with his head and shoulders out the top of the cab.

It feels like something out of a war film.

White van man

The convoy produces so much dust that most of the time all you can see is a brake light somewhere in front of you.

I haven't seen a cloud in the sky since we've been in Helmand Province, and the moonlight makes the experience even more eerie.

Our driver seems to be a bit of a white van man at heart.

Accelerating too much and then having to brake to compensate, but these aren't the magnificently tarmacked roads of the UK.

This is the best way I can describe the physical experience of being in the cab.

IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) come in all shapes

It's like being on one of those bucking bronco machines, but every time you go left you smack into the gunner, every time you go right you hit your head on the door and every bump sends you shooting up to crack your head on the ceiling.

Add to that the dust that's constantly pouring through both windows. Oh, and then there's the noise.

The engine is a beast in itself but the rattling in the cab was like a drum kit constantly falling down some stairs.


It was so loud in fact, that I didn't hear the Taleban grenade attack on our convoy!

As we drove the first leg of the journey, some insurgents threw grenades at a truck full of the Afghan National Army, which was a few vehicles behind us.

No-one was hurt, but my colleague Tulip Mazumdar thought her lorry had driven over an IED.

After I found that out I was convinced I could see the Taleban round every corner, but we eventually arrived safe and sound.

Covered in dust as usual, it was 4am, which meant it had taken four hours to drive 14 miles with a couple of stops.

I'm never going to complain when I get stuck on the M1 again.

Afghanistan diary: Day Two
Tuesday, 23 September 2008, 06:32 GMT |  Newsbeat
Afghanistan diary: Kabul Day One
Monday, 22 September 2008, 05:13 GMT |  The P Word
Shot in the head by the Taleban
Tuesday, 23 September 2008, 06:17 GMT |  The P Word
British troops on losing colleagues
Monday, 22 September 2008, 05:14 GMT |  The P Word
Inside Afghanistan's 'heroin fields'
Thursday, 1 May 2008, 06:38 GMT |  Newsbeat
Life for troops at Camp Bastion
Monday, 28 April 2008, 17:22 GMT |  Newsbeat
Afghan people 'wish for life in peace'
Wednesday, 30 April 2008, 06:20 GMT |  Newsbeat
British forces 'treat injured Taleban'
Monday, 28 April 2008, 05:11 GMT |  Newsbeat
The dogs taking on the Taleban
Monday, 28 April 2008, 15:39 GMT |  Newsbeat
Afghanistan does Pop Idol
Friday, 2 May 2008, 06:35 GMT |  Music


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