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First published at The Monthly It’s remarkable how fast you can fall off the back…

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This is a lightly edited diary of the Parliamentary Defence Exchange 3-13 April 2012 to Al Minhad, Tarin Kot, FOB Mirwais and Kandahar Air Field. Thanks in particular due to Captain Simon Petie, whose patience and generosity in looking after four special needs individuals made this trip so valuable.

Day 1 – Al Minhad Airbase, UAE

It’s about 8:30pm local time, on a bunkbed with the sound of an air conditioner and the roar of cargo planes for company.

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It’s rare to hear the phrase “war on terror” these days — it has been…

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It’s rare to hear the phrase “war on terror” these days — it has been seemingly purged from the official lexicon as the superficial certainty of the Bush/Howard years gives way to darker and more ambiguous terrain.

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On a dusty street in Lhasa, Tibet, a demonstration has gone bad. Tensions have been escalating for days; murmured opposition and spontaneous flashes of dissent spreading and finally igniting mass demonstrations from the Capital to every regional centre in Tibet. The security forces have been observing, documenting, falling back as numbers have grown.

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