Two Chinook helicopters circle above FOB Shank's small helipad before landing.
Below, members of the Czech Army PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) smile as they watch the helicopters. They are waiting to be picked up and taken to Bagram Air Field, from where they will be flown home. For them the mission is over. New personnel are replacing them.
Forward Operation Base (FOB) Shank is an American military base located near the town of Pul-i-Alam, in Loghar province, south of Kabul. It is a small base of one hundred and fifty American soldiers, two hundred soldiers of the Czech Republic, and a team of eight Czech civilian experts. There are also more than fifty Afghan civilian employees as well as fifty employees of different nationalities who work for KBR, an American military contractor.
FOB Shank has a dining room, a kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms (huts), a sickbay, chapel, administrative offices, a games room, library, exercise room and classrooms. Most of the buildings are made out of plywood.
The Czech PRT mission is not a typical combat mission, but focuses mainly on providing aid to local residents. Their soldiers protect the perimeter around FOB Shank as well as escorting civilian experts on their reconstruction missions. Those who are not on duty, try to relax. Some run, some go to the exercise room. Some read; others just simply sit outside their huts. Nevertheless, soldiers must be on 24-hour alert. The Czech team is to remain in Loghar for approximately three years.