A Kiwi patrol gets bogged down in slushy mud, caused by the thawing of snow after rain (WN10-0005-023)
2 March 2010
While Kiwis in New Zealand are sweltering in a warm late summer, Kiwis with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan are dealing with thick snow.
Below freezing temperatures have made vehicle movement difficult, and now the first rainfall in five months has caused the snow to begin thawing, bringing its own set of challenges to travelling through the mountain passes.
Rivers are rising and avalanches becoming more common, making many of the high passes impassable.
Royal New Zealand Air Force Warrant Officer Norb Thaler describes some of the typical problems faced during patrols in these conditions:
“We came back from a patrol last week and bellied out in the knee-deep mud. Our vehicle had a broken windscreen wiper and it didn’t take long for the windscreen to be covered in mud. We got around that by throwing bottles of water over the windscreen from the driver and passenger windows while on the move. Then as we got near the top of the pass we got into heavy snow flurries and near whiteout conditions. We turned on the lights but couldn’t see much – not even the vehicle in front of us.”
Despite the tough weather, it’s business as usual for the New Zealand Defence Force personnel, who continue to carry out joint patrols with the Afghan National Police, and meet with the local population.