Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Perspective: A waiting game in the mountains

An Iraqi PKK fighter takes a break near the border with Turkey.

TURKISH-IRAQI BORDER - "They shoot at us every night, from up there," Turkish Captain Imre said, pointing to the forbidding heights where Kurdish separatist fighters sustain a war of attrition. "Not really to kill us, but to harass our troops and let us know they're still there."

A patrol of a dozen Turkish conscripts lumbered up the snow-blanketed ridge to their small base perched at the edge of a steep precipice; Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq lay on the other side. They were fully exposed, and didn't seem to care.

A mixture of isolation and routine had left them listless and starved for contact - be it the rare Western visitor or a stubborn enemy that lives in the shadows above.

"We are always waiting, waiting to make contact with the terrorists," said the Turkish captain, who requested that his last name be withheld, as one of his men used a mirror to check the underside of a Kurdish-owned vehicle for contraband.

Read the rest at Asia Times