Former Major Jim Horton OAM reflects on time spent in Afghanistan

The then Captain Horton with an abandoned Russian tank.

 

THE withdrawal of military coalition forces from Afghanistan has the world wondering what lies ahead.

A peaceful transition to a democratic government?

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Perhaps factional power plays will see the country plunged into internal conflict.

Only time will tell.

For former Major Jim Horton OAM, his time spent there was rewarding as part of a United Nations mine clearance operation.

“When the Russians departed after 16 years occupying the country, they left as many as ten million anti personnel and anti tank mines which had to be cleared,” Mr Horton said.

“Our job was to train the Afghanis to do this dangerous work.

“Ten of them died and around 70 were maimed by mines, some of which were booby trapped,” he remarked.

“There were just nine of us and we were able to put together some 30 local clearance teams.

“Each consisted of around 100 individuals and we travelled all over the various provinces.

“In the more remote districts, we discarded our uniforms and dressed as tribesmen, complete with long beards as some of the Mujahideen were very suspicious and a bit trigger happy,” he stated.

After 35 years in the army Jim has devoted over 20 years of his time as an advocate for veterans’ pensions and Legacy.

He was also President of the Lemon Tree Passage RSL sub branch.

He and his dedicated team still work out of their office in Tanilba Bay caring for veterans, ex-service members and their families.

Enquiries can be made on 0408 863 546 or via email at [email protected]

Details of the Port Stephens Veterans Network can be found on www.psvn.com.au.

 

By Geoff WALKER

 

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