The Guardian recently profiled a huge UK military base constructed in the Afghanistan desert and home to 30,000 warfighters called Camp Bastion.
The sprawling city-like outpost got its name from the huge HESCO Bastion Concertainer units that define and protect its vast 25-miles border. The article claims that ‘thousands of the barriers now line the roads around the camp, and almost every other in the country.’
Camp Bastion’s airport is a hub of activity, necessary for getting supplies and food into the camp and is the jumping-off point for military air operations in the region.
“We can take things by road, fly them in by helicopter, or throw it out of a back of a plane,” says Commodore Clive Walker, the Royal Navy officer who is currently in charge of the entire camp.” It all depends what is being transported and where it is going. We used to have 60 or 70 vehicles leave the camp in convoys. But that was not good for relations with the local population. We try to go out first thing in the morning so the convoys don’t disrupt the bazaars. We try to time them carefully.”
As Nato forces prepare to end combat operations by 2014, Camp Bastion has already begin planning its exit strategy.
“It took us eight years to get to this stage and now we have to start thinking about what to bring back,” Walker says.
It is a good thing that HESCO barriers are as easy to take down as they are to construct.