Friday, January 07, 2005

Solar Strike - I

03 March

An urgent summons from the Brigadier. Wonder what his problem is. He's forever sending me off on wild goose chases because he likes to believe that he gets great int (intelligence) while the truth is that most of the time he doesn't know which way north is. Anyways, like I said before, ours is not to reason why.....

I reach his HQ by around 1200 hours hoping that at least I'll get a good lunch. Tinned Karelas and Keema are getting on my nerves. And the sight of an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) packet makes me ready to give up food and start thinking about subsisting purely on love and fresh air. But while theres loads of fresh air, theres no love, so I might as well eat whats put in front of me. Packaged, tinned or on hoof. Whatever.

Oops ! Whats this? The whole HQ is abuzz with activity, like it's been hit with a bomb. I look around, ask around and sure enough, thats it. It seems they've been attacked in the early morning. No serious damage that I can see.

I'm wrong.

I meet the Brigadier and realise theres a very major casualty. His ego.

It emerges that just after day break someone launched a few rockets at his HQ. Ones hit a tree. Ones hit a wall. Ones fallen in the middle of the FOL (Fuel, Oil and Lubricants) dump but refused to go off.

I soothe his frayed nerves and talk to him about God being kind and there being no damage or loss, etc, etc. As if he cares to listen to me.

"Khalid, I want the b******* that did this !!!" he thunders "Find out who did this and get them to me alive".

Am I f****** Sherlock Holmes or what? I ask him this, though being an upwardly mobile kind of fellow, I couch my query in polite and military language.

"I don't care a flying f***, " is his illuminating response, "just get him, them, whatever. I want their bodies dragged to my office and their heads put up on the fence".

I don't think it's the right time to remind him that a wee while ago, he wanted them alive. I hold my silence and give him the standard 'three bags full, Sir' nod.

I ask him if there are any leads, any information whatsoever and get a 'nix, nyet, nada' shake of the head in return, though he adds, "I've asked the JKP (J&K Police) and the Ikhwans to get their butts moving and get me names".

I see no invite for lunch coming my way so I decide to go around and have a look see for myself.

The target area reveals nothing but a few miserable pieces of mangled metal and one UX (unexploded) rocket in the FOL dump. It's a solar rocket. Interesting.

Solar rockets have never been used by the HM, so either they've got a new consignment or it's some other tanzeem (militant group). Before I go on, some of you may wonder what the f*** a solar rocket is. Well, it's a routine small calibre rocket that works on solar energy. In that, you align and place it anywhere you wish at night and leave it alone. As the sun rises, the solar rays energise the rocket's booster and it takes off in whatever direction it's facing. Ideal for terrorist use, because you don't need anyone to fire it. Just place it anytime during hours of darkness, align it generally and go home.

Ok. So I know what kind of rocket. Now lets go see where they came from. The hits on the tree and wall indicate the direction of origin so off I trot towards there. Hmmm! They've come from the roof of one of the shops in the area, across the road. I find three small wooden stands that have been placed there to launch the rockets.

So now I know where they came from.

Big deal. All this was known to the Brigadier and his staff even before I left my hidey hole.

Now I need to earn my daily crumb and find out the perpetrators of this ghastly attack on the Brigadier's ego, err, HQ.

I decide to go meet the Ikhwans. They're always a better source of information than the cops, though you need to carry a bag of salt along. Hyperbole seems to be every Ikhwan's middle name.

I reach one of the Ikhwan camps. And strike gold.

Not in terms of information but I get a good hot lunch.

Gup shup goes on. They're all excited about the rocket attack and each of them seems to have his own theory about who, how, why, when.

Nothing fruitful emerges and after asking the senior Ikhwan commanders to find out whatever they can, I set course for home.

The next day I visit the JKP set up and meet the SSP (Senior SP), the SP and the SP of the STF (Special Task Force). No khabar forthcoming from them either. Endless cups of tea and innumerable sound bytes later I head home again, getting no closer to achieving my mission than I was on Day 1.

Days go by and turn into weeks. No news at all on this issue. Normally you would expect some one to be bragging about it. Some radio intercepts. Something. Anything. But all thats forthcoming is..... Nothing.



At 10:55 PM, January 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great reading ..... keep it up Khalid ;) Mayaa

At 10:37 PM, March 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep ur chin up ..Khalid.. u will strike gold eventually



At 9:19 PM, April 17, 2005, Blogger Counter Insurgent said...

Mayaa, thank u :+)

X_X, well, i sure hope sense digging a gold mine n coming up with coal.

At 12:41 AM, October 15, 2012, Blogger Sadique mannan said...

Good Work Khalid Sir.


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