Army veterinary officer runs pioneering clinic in Helmand
25 November 2009
Under the watchful eye of Afghan Army guard 'look-outs' perched on top of four-wheel drive Ranger vehicles, a British Army Veterinary Officer and his Sergeant Major survey the distant desert horizon for signs of movement. Both carry pistols at their waists. This is Helmand Province - unpredictable and dangerous.
"Here come the first customers of the day," announces Captain Miles Malone as a herd of livestock accompanied by human figures appears, still several kilometres away on the bronzed desolate sandscape stretching ahead.
The soldiers busy themselves preparing drugs for the arrival of the livestock. Today for the third time in as many months, they are doing something that was, until recently, unheard of in this remote corner of the world - running a veterinary clinic.
Meanwhile, a turbaned Afghan farmer moves slowly across the desert on his motor scooter. Riding pillion are his three young sons, grasping their father's billowing dish-dash and each other as the vehicle bounces over an uneven dirt track. Another slightly older boy walks alongside, unhurriedly herding a flock of a hundred or so sheep towards the makeshift wire pen of the vet camp clinic....
More on this great B*N*S*N story here.