Life in Paind Kalay police station
Lieutenant Matt Galante is an officer in 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. He commands a Police Advisory Team (PAT) in Southern Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province. This is Matt’s second tour of Afghanistan.
I thought I would use blog number two as a chance to explain where I am currently living and what my day to day routine is – needless to say it’s a pretty big shift from my university days in Leeds or my current ‘home’ in Paderborn, Germany.
My team of 16 are based in the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) station in Paind Kalay, a village in the centre of Nahr-e-Saraj district, Helmand province. The ‘Kalay’ (Pashtun for ‘village’) is sandwiched between the river Helmand and the Nahr-e-Bugra canal, with an open desert to the North that provides a home for nomadic tribes – and an enormous amount of camels.
Paind Kalay is a maze of mud compounds, hardened by years of blazing sun, and is mostly inhabited by cheeky kids and old farmers with prune-like skin and about ten teeth between the whole community. The farmers tend to their crops in irrigated fields to our South, which makes up the now-infamous Green Zone: a jungle of dense trees and head-high cornfields which make movement an exhausting prospect. The insurgents know that our surveillance systems can’t pick up a lone gunman or IED-layer in the middle of a 10-foot high maize field, so this is where we tend to find the majority of our trouble.