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Christina Parfitt
Site Owner
Posts: 141

 By Permission of David Beechey:



I never bothered much with school. I learnt to read and write and do enough maths so I could work out the price of things and get the right change.

The teachers left me alone generally because I did'nt cause any troubleand I was handy with my fists so I could look after myself. I was good at sport which was another reason I was left alone. I used to sit at the back of the class and play with my gameboy. If I could get away with it.

Me and my best mate were waiting to join the Army and when we were old enough we did. We joined up and we enjoyed it. We did a bit of active service in Kosovo and did training in Germany and Canada. We did a short tour in Iraq but we did'nt really see any action which was a bit of a disappointment.

I'm 24 now and just before Xmas we were deployed to Afghanistan. This was real Soldiering! We were actively patrolling and fighting the Taliban.

We have'nt taken any casualties yet thank God,but we've killed quite a few Taliban. I didn't care about the politics or the history. I was just doing my job to the best I could.


Everything changed last month.


We were carrying out a sweep around and into a village in Helmand. We had not made any contact with the enemy and were deployed in a small square in the village. We hadn't been told to stand easy so were waiting for orders.

Their was a group of Afghan women watching their little girls go into the village school. It seemed like back home but there were no cars on the school run.

Suddenly about a 100 yards away a man stood up on a flat roof and opened fire with a light machine gun. The bullets kicked up dust around the little girls. Without thinking I raised my SA80 aimed and fired.

I am a good shot and I "drilled the beggar clean" as Kipling put it - describing something near here over 100 years ago (yes I read now).


He collasped and fell off the roof onto the street below. Two guys ran up to him but he was dead.


The children were running and screaming and their mothers were collecting and comforting them. Luckily none had been hit.


I noticed that a woman near to me was weeping quietly as she held her little girl. I felt bad and asked our interpreter had I killed someone she knew and to say sorry. There was a brief exchange of converesation between them and the interpreter said she did not know the man but was glad I killed him.

She looked up at me then still clutching her little girl and gave me a tentative smile through her tears. I didn't know what to make of it so I asked the interpreter what was going on.

"She is glad that you shot him because he was trying to kill the litle girls.She's crying because she is frightened you British are going to leave and let the Taliban come back and then no more girls will go to school and they will again be sexually mutilated when they become teenagers". He shrugged his shoulders.

I looked at the woman and her little girl and I suddenly felt very peculiar and looked away. The order came to mount up and we moved off and as we left the square I looked back to see the woman still watching me.

That night at Camp Bastion I went to see the Chaplian, I tried to explain to him how I felt and asked him how I should feel about killing a man.

He sat silently for a minute or two and then said, "son you were just feeling the pity of war and the beginning of compassion. I know you only go to chuch service when the Army makes you but compassion is a requirement of being a Christian. It seems to me you are well on your way to being one.

You see until Jesus started teaching, there was no acknowledgement of compassion as a virtue. How could there be when mass entertainment was seeing people torn to bits in the arena by wild animals and having to fight to the death as gladiators?

By killing that man you certainly saved the lives of those children - it might even be you were doing Gods work killing that man. Jesus certainly said whoever harms one hair on the head of a child, that it was better that he ties a large stone around his neck and jumps in a lake and drowns". I asked him what was going on here, and what did the interpreter mean.


He sighed and said "I guess you did not listen to my orientation lectures when you arrived or you would have known.

Ok,here's whats going on.We didn't come here to help the population, we came here to destroy the Taliban goverment who were assiting in the training of terrorists. Our secondary and concurrent task is to help the people.


Undedr the Taliban females coujld not be educated at all and generally were not even allowed outside of their homes. Widow often starved to death in their own houses because of that. Young women underwent female 'circumcision' so that they could not enjoy sex. Over two million girls have been educated since we came here and their mutilation has virtually ceased. The Taliban want to stop it and are quite prepared to kill women and children wherever they find them being educated.


I was appalled and I asked him why we weren't doing more.


'There have been nearly thirteen hundred British and American deaths and hundreds sedriously wounded apart from the huge sums of money epended, he replied. 'Politicians have to decide what casualties and deaths they can balance against the gains that can be made. It's called the Devils arithmetic, 'That's one of the reasons why we pray for God to guide our politicians.'

I thanked him and went back to my mates.


I read now whenever I can because I'm trhying to understand what it's all about. I even go to church voluntarily now. I can't believe that I was so stupid as to not 'pay attenion in school and that we take our education for granted when in other countries it can be so hard to come by and that you might have to risk yhour ife to get an education.


I don't understand why we don't tell everyone in Britain what we are achieving and how terrible is is for women and girls in these countries and how proud we should be about what we have done in Afghanistan.


Account by David Beechey

May 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Christina Parfitt
Site Owner
Posts: 141

This article has been published in various magazines, and with many orginisations who help the armed forces, since it was written earlier this year (2010).


Have any of you thoughts on the comments made by this young soldier?

July 29, 2010 at 3:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Christina Parfitt
Site Owner
Posts: 141

Reading the above probably makes people feel uneasy - well folks we have lost 344 troops since Afghanistan started - surely someone somewhere has something to say about that?

Lnl, Tina


November 23, 2010 at 5:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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