Five.tv : Warzone – Life on Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan
UK TV station Channel 5 are airing the series Warzone which looks at life on Kandahar Air Base for the British and Allied forces stationed there. This is the latest in a welcome crop of documentaries following the lives of military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the BBC’s A Soldier’s Story and Ross Kemp in Afghanistan from Sky, amongst others. This is a much lighter programme but fascinating regardless. For me, it remains crucial to keep the home audience aware of the extent of British involvement in the key conflict areas of the world and this is a great, upbeat example.
So welcome to Kandahar Air Base – home to 10,000 service personnel, a major logistical hub and the launching point for a large number of operations in Afghanistan. The amenities are basic but wide-ranging, including home comforts such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, an alcohol-free bar and the occasional impromptu disco. I wonder whether booze does flow a tad more freely behind the scenes but the base is otherwise strictly business. Relationships are tough as the minority women on the base are forbidden intimate contact with the men. Despite weekly rocket attacks from the charming Taliban, the occupants of the base seem relatively relaxed and even philosophical. The RAF Regiment is responsible for base security and a new platoon is shown arriving for their tour of duty.
The series producer, Susanne Rock, for Granada has elected to follow specific individuals as their lives illustrate life on the base and, in future episodes, outside it. We have met the base commander, Harrier Pilot Hillard (a star of previous documentaries) and his maintenance crew, the RAF Regiment and the charming Kate from the Valleys, one of the base administrators. An interesting start – one to watch.