Tackling the Incredible Hulks: Another Small Step on Helmand’s Road to Normality
Wrecked vehicles left behind by years of war have been cleared from a major route in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, as British troops seek to make life more normal and safe for local people.
The stretch of Highway 1, east of provincial capital Lashkar Gah, is now looking much more presentable, thanks to a project instigated by soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh who, along with their Afghan National Army counterparts, are responsible for overseeing security in the area.
The road and surrounding land had become littered with burnt out and written off vehicles – or ‘hulks’ as they are known to the troops – as a result of improvised explosive device blasts and road traffic accidents.
After the decision was taken to clear the area it was decided, rather than employ military labour, to help boost the local economy by employing a local contractor to carry out the work. Some of the British soldiers were on the scene to oversee the clearance operation.
Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel David Eastman, said:
“Security has improved markedly along Highway 1 in the past few months, due to the establishment of new checkpoints along the route as well as successful operations into the surrounding area by the Royal Welsh and their Afghan National Army partners.
“The ‘hulk’ removal has not only removed possible sources of cover for insurgent attacks on the road, but will also improve the perception of security for road users and local people.
“With these eyesores now gone, the place looks much better. Security has improved on Highway 1 and now it actually looks that way too.”