MEANWHILE IN AFGHANISTAN...
Drazil, if you are out there, you may remember we had a conversation a while ago as to the armament of Belgian Pandur APCs in Afghanistan. It appears some examples are armed with the .50 and others with the MAG 7.62mm, as is evident from these recent pics taken from the Belgian Army site. To the left, Pandur with .50 cal. To the right, below, with the MAG. Pictures taken somewhere in April on a shooting range near Kabul.
The troops shown belong, as far as I know, to the 12th-13th Line Regiment. The incongruous name stems from the fact that in 1976 during a rationalization a merger took place between the 12th and 13th regiments. The 12th Line Regiment was the oldest active Belgian Infantry Regiment, as it originated from a volunteer corps established right after the Belgian Independence on March 31, 1831. Of all the units in the Belgian armed forces, it has always had the highest number of awards. It proved itself particularly during the 1914 campaign, during which the Belgian Army slowly fell back, over a period of two months and a half, from Liège towares the westernmost corner of the country, behind the river Yser. Its outstanding reputation was such that our King, Albert I, on April 5th, 1915 wrote:
"I have chosen the 12th Regiment of the Line for my son's military formation because this regiment during the past campaign has distinguished itself the most for its bravery."
Albert I - De Panne - 5 april 1915
The 13th Regiment of the Line was raised in 1874 and disbanded again in 1947. Re-established in 1976 as an anti-tank unit, it was then merged with the 12th and got its final name in 1984, "Régiment 12ème de Ligne Prince Léopold - 13ème de Ligne", referring to King Albert's son, Leopold. The 12th-13th is garrisoned in Spa to the southeast of Liège. WWII buffs may recall that Spa was the place where, prior to the Battle of the Bulge, General Hodges, commanding general of the US 1st Army, had his HQ established (which during Peipers dash for the Meuse consequently had to be evacuated).
The photos show the new desert camo as worn by Belgian soldiers in Afghanistan right now. Of course, with the continental camo pattern on helmet and Kevlar jacket, the effect is a bit weird.
And on Thursday, May 12th, President Karzai was in Brussels for EU talks. He used the occasion to visit the House of Representatives and thank Belgium for its efforts. President Karzais visit was a welcome opportunity for the parents of Hélène De Beir, who was a Belgian project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Badghis, Afghanistan, to ask about the proceedings in the investigation of the murder of their daughter. In June 2004 she was murdered, allegedly by Taliban, in Afghanistan, along with two colleagues and their Afghan driver and translator.
Pesonally, I think some of the news coming out of Afghanistan has been rather distressing a bit. As I mention the case of Mrs. De Beir, I recall that just this week I read in a newspaper that one of the prime suspects of the murder was a Police Chief... reinstated lately in March. Then of course most of us have heard about the recent demonstrations against the US in some Afghan cities. Crowds consisting of students and even children shouting "Death to America", "Death to Bush" and things like that. All so, it seems, because of a Newsweek article where some dipshit editor found nothing better than circulate a story about Guantanamo guards placing a Quran on a toilet (and even flushing one down).
I don't know how it is with you, but if I read crap like that I'm not so much incensed because of shoddy reporting putting lives from US military personnel at risk again, but because these fuckwads, just three years after having been liberated from vile oppressors and receiving massive aid to get their backward country back on its feet again, think it's appropriate to chastize Uncle Sam. When I saw these assclowns, dirty towels wrapped around their heads, eyes towards infintiy and brains switched off, I had this idea that it would be nice to call in a Spec...(censored).
Oh well. We'll see how it all plays out. But what I see thus far in the Muslim World is not exactly encouraging. Excuse me, but this guy may very well show the first signs of losing his patience with Islam.