Don Spinks - Condition of infrastructure

Running time
2 min 18 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We had quite a large number of embeds in Kabul as well, but it varied. It just depended on the cycle of the operations as to where people were. So there was a node that was at KAIA North Kabul International Airforce Base, sorry, International Airport, pardon me. But yeah, it just varied.

Mostly embeds up there, and then Kandahar was the same, a lot of embeds, as in embedded personnel, into various headquarters. Whereas Tarin Kowt was more operational, supporting the operations outside the wire. When we first flew over, it was, well, when I first went into Kabul, it was very little electricity, very little infrastructure was up and running, and as opposed to my last trip in there in 2019, it was lit up like Kings Cross in Sydney. I

t was a lot different, much better lines of communication. So bitumen, blacktop roads leading out of the capital. The first trip in, the road infrastructure was just terrible. But over time, life returned to whatever normal is and infrastructure was certainly improved significantly. I think at the time it was the busiest single runway airport in the world. You'd take off either in helicopter or fixed wing aircraft and just the hardware that was on display, so all the large unmanned aerial vehicles, the predators, reapers.

But even more interesting was the coming in on the approaches because you had layers of air traffic, all different types of aircraft, and quite busy for the air traffic controllers. I imagine they would've been earning their money there, but just a massive infrastructure. Kandahar the same, just 40-odd thousand people cluttered around the airport, and that's your foreign military forces and contractors. So quite a lot of hardware.

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