Body Bombers…Nigerians in Afghanistan


Body Bombers

By Patrick Nwadike

Special to

From Pinjher, we flew to Talum. The flight was bumpy but to my amazement, all the soldiers slept as soon as the copter took off, bodies bumping bodies as the fight jerked on. The noise from the copter blade kept me awake all through the three hours flight, that is, besides the jerking. Fifteen minutes to dropping, the soldiers woke, cleared their eyes, checked their kits and began to parachute. Surveillance on the ground had given signal that they land. I looked out the opening to Afghanistan skyline and saw clear sky lighted with sparkling stars. I could make out the autumn cloud as it capped each other like fish scales.

Journalists hugged their bag and flew along for another twenty minutes. All soldiers had disembarked except Lt. Creole. He had spoken with me earlier on after observing me for more than an hour. He wanted to know where I came from. When I introduced myself a Nigerian, he got more interested. Lt. Creole believes that if Nigerians are now coming to Afghanistan, the war will soon end.


“They will overrun the Taliban”.

I don’t understand, you mean Nigeria army will do better than NATO?

“Not the army, Nigeria people, the civilians. Pakistanis hold Nigerians in high respect and Pakistan is not far from Afghanistan”.

I still could not understand Lt. Creole on how Nigeria civilians can win the Taliban and why Pakistanis holds Nigerians in high regards but I decided to avoid this line of discussion. Soon, we landed in Jalalabad, a city with population of about 205,403 inhabitants. Information is constantly changing here. No plan is totally accurate. We were told we will join the troop fighting in Sar-e pol but Lt. Creole said we have to go to Gardeyz to report America wounded. Descriptions of what I saw in the hospital gave me a feeling of a worthless life and the meaning of this war. The medics were up to their task as body bags arrived, some dead and some yet to live. Limbs were being sewed off and held in thrash bags. After taking some photographs, we boarded a truck to Ghazni. Night welcomed us in Ghazni and Lt. Creole invited me to unpack and stick with him.

As soon as I set down my back pack, I asked Lt. Creole what he thinks of this war and the Lieutenant explained that the war was going on as it should be.

“We are just in a different department of life. Some people choose business or to become a Professor in a university or to be a politician. We fight this war because this is what our training is all about”.

How about so much life being lost?

“It depends on your idea of life and living. The truth is that we all live in dreams and here we give up a life to emerge in another dream, to continue the journey”

Are you not being philosophical here?

“I don’t know but this is my truth. I do my job, you do yours’ and the human folks are served. How do you explain natural disaster that kills thousands? I am here because Gen. Stanley McChrystal wants me here, because I signed for this duty”.

Do you know about Nigeria civil war of 1967 to 1970?

“I have been to Lagos, Umuahia and Jos. I know about that war but my assessment is that it’s an ongoing thing; it never really ended. Nigeria or rather the war moves from one phase to another even when shots are not being fired”.

How do you mean?

“Nigeria problem is ongoing, a never ending thing at least for now. I was a junior military attaché working under United States Information Service {USIS} and that gave me access to literatures on Nigeria. Travelling around the country in the course of doing my duty also furthered my feeling that Nigeria is an ongoing case”.

Do you have a solution?

“The leaders know the solution but many interests sufficed in the past. Now that western countries are fighting terrorism, the balance will tilt especially as oil dries up and the world continues to shift towards eco-technology for economic advancement and sustainable clean environment. World order will force Nigeria to adopt every region, a country system”.

It appears President Obama is dithering McCrystal’s recommendations.

“Delay or dithering is a strategy. For one, it shows who is calling the shot or as Americans would say; whose table does the bulk end? While we wait for decisions to be made, we rebuild confidence, recharge ourselves, and file our ammunitions, ready for the onslaught that we must make for a final incursion. The Taliban on the other side also is psychologically brow-beaten knowing that we dictate the pace of this war. Afghan politicians are also made to know size of their clothes”.

I talked with Lt. Creole till early hours of the morning and before he slept, he gave me a scoop; tomorrow, NATO forces will rattle the Taliban in Kushka and Maymaneh. I checked my map and looked at the topography. The hilly areas appeared like a buried bunker. It reminded me of Biafra bunkers during the war. When Gen. Murtala Mohammed stormed Abagana, our family quickly dug one. The Nigeria/Biafra war however never ravaged our town and after the war, we converted the bunker to a pit toilet.

As I thought about Ojukwu bunker, I received a message on my satellite phone from my office; “Body Bomber’s…PASHWAR…find them”.

I turned again to ask Lt. Creole if his solution for Nigeria should be applied in Afghanistan {every province, a country} but he had dosed off, his face covered with his beret, legs spread out with his boots on and his finger neatly tucked inside his bullet trigger.

•Patrick Nwadike, member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, will write a series of short stories for and CLASSmagazine

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