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Afghan military hook up

opinion

I am back in Afghanistan for the fifth time in two years. I have a lot in common Afghan military hook up the British, Canadian and American soldiers deployed in the country.

Like many of them, I have been here before and I have been under fire. And, dubious though the honour is, I am a member of an even more exclusive club: I have been shot during a gunfight. There are differences between us, too.

I am a photojournalist, not a soldier. I carry cameras and a notebook, not a gun. In the heat of battle, I am trying to stay alive, not trying to kill. The biggest difference - the one that surprises all the soldiers I meet - is that more than volunteering to be here, I overcome many obstacles to be an observer in this Afghan military hook up zone.

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I have worked extensively in Afghanistan sincespending a total of six months here. I was one of the first journalists to spend time with British soldiers from 16 Air Assault when they deployed to Helmand. This was in Aprilwhen much of the British Afghan military hook up still accepted the government's line that the mission was about reconstruction.

The defence secretary had said he hoped "the mission could be completed without firing a shot", which seemed unlikely at best, and disingenuous at worst.

The Canadian deployment in Kandahar started in the spring of and I spent almost a month with a reconnaissance unit from the 1st Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

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