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My thoughts on Afghanistan

by Shaun Kober
August 23rd 2021

I have been accused of being a baby killer.
I have been called a puppet of my Government sent to invade another country and do the dirty work on the ground. 
I've been assured that the... More

yo what's up guys, welcome to this episode of the live train perform podcast. I'm your host, Sean koba. Today's episode is gonna be a little bit different. I'm gonna be speaking on something that I wasn't going to speak up on. However I've had a number of people reach out to me and asked me what my thoughts are on the current situation in Afghanistan. Uh so I'm recording this on Tuesday 17 August uh and I put together a post for my social media platforms recently. Um putting all this into words. So I'm going to share that with you guys here then go into a little bit more detail. Um so the post reads, I've been accused of being a baby killer. I've been called a puppet of my government sent to invade another country and do the dirty work on the ground. I've been assured that the work that my team and I did was a waste of time and that the lives we lost was calmer for being in another country. The list of accusations and verbal abuse and simple ignorance goes on and on. However, I don't lose any sleep about the opinions of others that haven't been in my boots yet, shout the loudest about war being unjust and morally wrong regardless of what the official government title or role of each battle group was.

My job was to look after my mates to the best of my ability along with the afghani soldiers and security forces were mentoring to provide stability in their own country. Once we left, some of these soldiers had experienced life under the Taliban regime. We fought side by side with them and we earn their respect as they did ours. They knew that one day we would leave the country and the weight of the country would be left on their shoulders. We also work with soldiers who had not experienced the Taliban regime. They were lazy, they were high all the time. They ran at the first sign of trouble and left us on our own to fight our way out of sticky situations. They expected us to be there to save their answers and acted accordingly. We don't trust them. Unfortunately, the majority of the soldiers we work with with a ladder. So it's no surprise to see the rapid decline of security forces in Afghanistan recently, with the Taliban strolling back into power, a lot of people that have Boots on the ground are struggling with the fact that Afghanistan was retaken so easily after 20 years, countless lives and injuries and casualties and trillions of dollars spent trying to build a better future for the local people.

If you're in that position, rest assured that your contribution showed a generation of afghan is what life could be like and hopefully inspires the resistance to rise up and crush the Taliban's reign of terror that has flared up across the country. Once again, I have no doubt that the atrocities that will be shared to the world in the coming weeks, weeks and months will have people calling for us to go back in and do something undoubtedly, these will be the same people that were calling for us to leave. The recent pictures and videos of civilians desperately trying to escape should paint a picture as to how terrified people are of the taliban and the grim future that most afghans will likely face. My thoughts are with my afghani brothers who stood side by side with Australian soldiers to fight a common enemy as well as for those who cannot defend themselves. So as I mentioned, a lot of the soldiers that we worked with just didn't seem to give a funk about their own country. Um you know, they had no drive, they had no motivation. They'd never experienced life under Taliban regime. All that experience was, you know, life under coalition forces um which was essentially providing them their safety.

So obviously with the Taliban taking back power, you know, the country is going to go back 20 years and unfortunately not that all of the work that we did has been undone. I don't look at it like that. I look at it as you know, we gave a generation of afghanis a look into what life could be like when the country is run properly without a force that's ruling through terror and fear and barbaric actions. Now I'm going to tell a little story here that I haven't told to too many people at all and definitely not on the podcast, but just to shed some light on um you know, some of the afghani locals that we worked with, who really fucking loved having us there because we help preserve their lives and we took the lives of the enemy, the common enemy that we were fighting together. So when I was on court martial, which was a combat outpost which was in the chore of Baluchi Valley, the Afghani government was building a road and this was building a sealed road that would go from the Torah Baluchi Valley down into Tarin kowT, which was the main city.

Now the dirt road was full of ideas and things like that. Um and the government was trying to build a road so that the locals could get down to the bazaar which was the market so they could buy their food and be able to travel safely along that road now. Um the Afghani government actually employed local security forces to uh provide security along that road as it was being built. And you know, we were sitting on our base and We could see the road being built up the valley and it was probably, 2 3 km away at this stage and every single day um there was trace around kicking off through the night. Um you know, it Was, it was all kicking off every day for a couple of weeks, probably like two or 3 weeks. We could hear it all kicking off, we could see it all kicking off uh and we're like funk man, these guys are getting a bit of a hiding, we need to go out there and help them. So what we did was my sniper team um went along with the main patrol and we took a number of interpreters with us so that we could go into that checkpoint.

So we basically did a patrol down into that vicinity. My sniper team went up onto the high ground where the command element of the checkpoint, the local security forces were um whilst the main body, the engineers, the security section, the command element of my team went down into the green zone and kind of moved around in there. So whilst they were doing that, um we had a little bit of a deception and we took our interpreters and started asking the local security forces where they were getting hit from what time they were getting hit, who how many people were hitting them etcetera etcetera. We took that information back with us and we put together an intelligence package and then we came up with a plan. So basically what we did was we inserted at nighttime, um into that position, we cast a heap of food and ammunition and water and ship like that specialist equipment that we needed for five day task. And we basically went out into that position, I was a lead scout and I basically walked up onto that position At nighttime about 3:00 AM.

And I was kind of like funk man, I hope this dude because I could see a guy through my night vision goggles. I was like I hope this dude um doesn't see me and opened fire because you know I may potentially have to kill him. Um Anyway I got I snuck right up to this dude who was the rear security for uh the security checkpoint and he was asleep and I basically just tapped him on the shoulder is like hey mate Australian soldier, Australian soldier. Um so once we got there he welcomed us um went and told you know the other guys in the in that checkpoint. But we were like you cannot tell anyone else that we're here because we were worried that you know the information would leak to the taliban um and then they wouldn't attack. So basically what we end up doing was observing uh these key areas of interest throughout the day the next day. And then it was just before last light um call to prayer came out, people started moving into the mosque etcetera etcetera. Now once people started coming out of the mosque we could start, we were seeing these guys these afghanis start crawling around in positions Where 567, 800 meters away.

These guys are crawling around, acting really fucking dodgy um talking to each other using hand signals and things like that. And we're like cool ship, this is on where this is about to kick off here and our team leader, our supervisor sorry, was like always don't fire, don't fire, don't fight Until they kick off. And uh you know probably about five minutes later once the taliban had all moved into position they launched a coordinated attack and we were up on the high ground on this checkpoint, we had uh smaller checkpoints down on the road alongside the road where they were building it. Um And those guys on the low ground started getting whacked with a heavy rate of fire. Our supervisors like right fire, fire, fire and basically we just started picking off targets and uh um I won't say too much else on that but we had a significant impact on that battle. And there was a number of funerals the next day and that checkpoint or those checkpoints didn't get touched for the rest of the time that we were there, we were there for Another four or 5 days uh and then we extracted, went back to our base, um went through you know after action, review etcetera etcetera.

And then we pushed out to another valley and continued doing um you know supporting other battle group operations and combat team operations etcetera etcetera. But basically we had really good impact on um that particular area and that allowed we we you know took a few dudes out had a great impact so that that security security forces could continue doing their job, continue building that road up the valley, which then um allowed the local people to live a safer, happier, easier life. Um and those guys were super grateful to us and you know, showed us tremendous um hospitality because we put our trust in them, we were inserted into their position. We literally lived with Them for five days and you know, they could have fucking done anything to us. We were always on the lookout, you know, we were ever vigilant, uh you know, making sure that we had our backs covered. But those guys showed us tremendous hospitality and we're extremely grateful for us to be able to have an impact on that area.

So then, you know, it essentially eliminated the threat for them. So they could do their job in that mission in particular, sticks out for me, along with a number of others with the Afghani National Army forces that we worked with. Some of the guys were really fucking solid and did understand that we would be leaving at some stage and they would have to take control of their own country and provide their own security. So it's really sad to see how rapidly the security forces deteriorated and the Taliban, how easy it was for the taliban to retake control of the country. Um in saying that, you know, we did know that that was likely going to happen just from our experience with some of the security forces that we worked with and the majority of them didn't really seem to give a fuck um about what they were doing and you know, they, it wasn't really um a big drive for them. They didn't see what life was like before to then understand that if they didn't, didn't pull their weight and do something about it, that life could quite easily go back to what it was, you Know, 10, 15, 20 years ago.

So that's that's my thoughts on the subject. I'm really grateful to have had an impact on the people, the local people that I interacted with. You know, we built schools, we built roads. Um we provided a lot of security um to allow the local people, the local afghan is, the village is to be able to live happy uh healthier, safer life. I really feel for those that uh stood side by side with my Australian brothers um and fought against a common enemy. Um And I'm really, I'm really sad to see what's happening in Afghanistan at the moment and particularly with the desperation of the locals trying to um do whatever they can to get out of Afghanistan and escape that reign of terror. So that's it for my thoughts on that anyone who did serve overseas and is struggling to deal with what's been happening in the last week or so, please feel free to reach out to me, I'll be happy to have a conversation.

My phone is on to all the brothers that I served with. Never above you, Never below you. Always beside you brothers by choice. Much love.

My thoughts on Afghanistan
My thoughts on Afghanistan
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