Things have quietened down now and I have slept and settled myself. It’s 36 hours since it occurred so I feel it now OK to report that we were hit the night of 27th April. At about 1914 hrs DB and I were standing on the parapet of the Hesco wall on the phone to the Country manager when, without warning, a massive explosion occurred about 50 metres away from us and in front of Gate 1. DB and I were blown off the parapet and by the time we gained our feet, heavy small arms fire had broken out to our front and in the LN compound that borders ours. We bolted for our gear screaming ‘Contact’ at the tops of our voices which, on reflection, was an idiotic thing to do because it was bloody obvious were in contact.
My lads were kitted up in no time and we immediately swung into our rehearsed drills. We gathered the client’s people and got them into the bunker. All towers were double-manned with Neps and every tower on our inner compound was reinforced by one of my expats. Force protection formed a QRF and the remainder of my expats were placed on our western parapet facing the direction of the attack.
I established a CP close to Gate 1 and hunkered down between two armoureds. From there we controlled our response and maintained comms with ISAF JDOC who put up a UAV for over watch and choppers flying low and fast over the position. ISASF QRF was stood-to but held in location – in the end they did not move forward to us.
By now it was about ten minutes into the attack and, following 3 or 4 small explosions (grenades), there two more large explosions then silence. A few random shots cracked out for another ten or fifteen minutes and that was it. Over.
The ANP (Afghan National Police) got to us very quickly with a ranger detachment and mobile patrols. They cleared the LN compound and a house that we had taken fire from. It was good to have them there.
The rest of the night was spent piecing together – literally – the action and all of my lads remained on stag (sentry) throughout the night. At 0600 I sent out a clearing patrol that cleared the entire perimeter. Once I was sure we were secure we stood down a little and tried to get some rest. For me the hard bit then started as my higher kicked in with endless RFI that I had to respond to. I handed over to DB at 1100 28th Apr and got my head down for three hours much needed sleep.
It’s now clear we had three suicide bombers – 1 VBIED (car bomb – the first explosion) and 2 BBIED (body-borne – the final explosion). Our LNs took many casualties and we are still trying to identify them and confirm numbers. We had three Neps with minor wounds and extensive damage to our ops room and many of the accommodation rooms. Importantly, the insurgents did not get in and there were no injuries to any of our client’s staff.
When standing my lads down after the action I felt a surge of pride looking at them. They were dog-tired and filthy dirty but they were standing straight and taking the piss as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. They performed brilliantly and I couldn’t have asked for more from them.
Today we are back to business as usual but with all my higher and client’s higher arriving later to do the ‘battlefield tour’ – I’m breaking out the dancing bears, jugglers and midgets on unicycles for their pleasure and entertainment. Frankly, with exception of my CM, I could do without a “carry on soldier” from the higher-ups but that’s the way it has to be so we’ll all just have to suck it up.
L, my darling, do not worry. I am safe and well. We are strong, well prepared and motivated (but could all use a pay rise!)