Anyone who has read previous installments on Sabzak will understand that this step in the middle of Afghanistan was the most complex hole that the Spanish Army had to face in this mission. The fight took place between September 3 and 4, 2009. The Tukus defended tooth and nail a strategic point in the communications of the country. And the Spanish military directed their steps knowing that, if they went ahead, probably would not return. That’s where the name of Sergeant Carlos Rachid G. Kouiche stands .
The orders he has received are clear: “No complex movements, we will go with everything we have and we will occupy the area, which is what the infantry does, once there, whoever wants, whoever can, who evicts us,” as described in the blog El Paso de Sabzak (III) , written by Lieutenant Colonel Norberto Ruiz and illustrated by the cartoonist José Manuel Esteban.
Thus, with the only certainty of trust in his comrades, Sergeant Kouiche advances towards Sabzak . The sun has barely risen and the bullets are already whistling. Neither the sergeant nor any of his companions has had an eye all night. They know that death is around them and that they must endure the onslaughts of the tukus (that is how they call the enemy).
Because Sabzak is essential. It is the natural passage that connects several regions of Afghanistan. For decades, probably centuries, criminals have assaulted their victims in the area. Now it is the insurgents, allied with the Taliban, who try to keep pace. And the Spanish Army is responsible for releasing it . The course of the war depends on what happens in this day of endless shooting.
Each follows his steps. The tukus are in place. Sergeant Kouiche and his team – the Albuera company – are advancing without giving up one step. he travels aboard an armored Lynx, listening to the words that the radio spits out, looking out the windows as his companions advance: Dragon , Thanatos , Kiriki … because he knows all of them by his nickname. Gajes spend months side by side in one of the most insecure places in the world.
Go to Pony climbing on foot to the top of a level. He knows that he will receive the toughest of the tukus’ fire . Barney locates targets. Kent maintains the position and instructs the advanced air traffic controller to receive assistance.
The distance between one and the other narrows. Many of the tukus move on horseback . Others, those that shoot with greater precision, are hidden under blankets to hinder their location. The Spanish military throw their feet to the ground and advance positions. The armored vehicles, riddled with bullets, meander along the sand and stone roads.
Time stands between the crossing of fire. Sergeant Kouiche does not have a second to drink water: he maintains the position, which is not little, and advances when he finds where to do it. Thus, little by little, they manage to suffocate the rain of bullets that falls on them.
Finally, the tukus give way . They are no longer able to defend Sabzak. The Spanish military breathes a sigh of relief. One of them, Sergeant Serantes, will be wounded in the left leg and evacuated to an area under control . Kouiche hugs his companions and asks for those he does not have at his disposal: they can all tell what happened in this step of Afghanistan.
Sergeant Kouiche breathes, smiles. Suddenly remember that he has not drunk for hours. He approaches one of his own and finally dares to joke: “Give me some water, I’m dry, you do not know how to shoot!”