Shortly after I returned to the UK at the end of the 2016/17 ski season I was contacted by George Arbuthnott, an award winning investigative journalist with The Sunday Times Insight Team.
George told me that The Sunday Times were investigating allegations of SAS assassinations in Helmand Province. He’d read my book and was interested in my account of a night raid in Rahim which resulted in the deaths of three farmers the SAS alleged were Taliban insurgents. Although I couldn’t say very much more than I had already published in SPIN ZHIRA
, we spoke for about an hour.
Several weeks later George called me again to say that they had tracked down the mother of the three men, Bebe Hazrata, and that she had corroborated my own account of the incident. I was impressed. Rahim now lies deep inside Taliban controlled territory. The Sunday Times investigator had taken a huge personal risk going into an insurgent stronghold to meet with Bebe. I realised that George and the Insight Team were taking this investigation very seriously.
I can’t say whether or not the SAS committed war crimes but I do believe they operated outside of the normal rules of engagement and that many of their operations were counterproductive to the strategic aims of the campaign to “restore the economy and democracy”.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
Ten reasons why you should read SPIN ZHIRA.
‘Brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, bestselling author of The Junior Officers’ Reading Club
Doug Beattie, bestselling author of An Ordinary Soldier
‘Absolutely fantastic. This is the book to read on service in Afghanistan.’
Dr Mike Martin, bestselling author of An Intimate War
‘A must read.’
Richard Dorney, bestselling author of The Killing Zone
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read’
Frank Ledwidge, bestselling author of Losing Small Wars
SOLDIER The official magazine of the British Army
‘Not just for soldiers’
William Reeve, BBC World Service and Afghanistan Correspondent
What others are saying about SPIN ZHIRA.