Bastion on alert as goats evade capture
British troops in Camp Bastion have been placed on special alert to look out for three fugitives who have escaped and so far managed to evade capture.
The escapees are three goats, normally resident in the camp’s highly realistic training village. In a daring night-time manoeuvre the goats broke free from their pen and set off to explore the vast Helmand camp.
Goats may seem a strange addition to Britain’s military forces in Afghanistan, but Camp Bastion contains some of the most advanced and realistic training facilities ever assembled for British forces – including a replica of an Afghan village, complete with an Afghan population and appropriate livestock, including goats and some rather forward chickens.
The goats, codenamed Tom, Dick and Harry, normally roam around a complex of mud brick compounds, an exact replica of the structures soldiers will find themselves patrolling when they complete their training and move out of Camp Bastion. Claustrophobic alleys open into courtyards and rooms, any of which might contain hidden booby traps. There are even village elders, forcefully negotiating with the newly-arrived troops, and a sleepy bazaar with a motorcycle repair shop.
Goats or no goats, training goes on. Colour Sergeant Roughley, of 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards, the first British soldier on the scene, was keen to stress that the goats are valued members of the training community: “It looks like the goats were paying closer attention to the military training than we thought. The breakout was perfectly timed and executed, and now they have gone to ground. It’s important to get the message out that, while we are impressed with their skills, it’s time to return to duty.”