“This is the right call,” Matt said.

“No way, man. This is not the right call,” I protested adamantly.

“Trust me. This is the right call.” Matt was not budging.

During a presence patrol in northern Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, an otherwise uneventful afternoon suddenly turned quite frustrating. Matt, the Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant from one of the ODA teams in 3rd Special Forces Group, held a very different opinion, than I did, of the best course of action in our current situation.

We were both trying very hard to not let the situation escalate and to not get heated during our exchange. It was about to go sideways at any moment.


A Great Red Jingle Truck

Have you ever heard of a jingle truck? A jingle truck is a very large cargo truck, commonly seen in South Asia in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, or India. It’s called a “jingle” truck, because many of them are decorated with strands of bells or other metal items, lights, horns, beads, garlands, and things like that. So, they make a lot of noise or jingle. They are also heavily painted and brightly colored. They have a cab and a very large, open cargo area, the size of a dump truck. Fully loaded they can hold several tons of cargo.

Jingle truck Afghanistan
A loaded jingle truck rolls through the bazaar on Highway 1 in Zabul province, Afghanistan, July 3, 2010. (Photo by Staff Sgt. William Tremblay/U.S. Army)

On this particular afternoon, near the Oshay district in our Area of Operations (AO) outside of Firebase Cobra, a large red jingle truck rounded a corner in the village and rolled right into our little checkpoint. Obviously, the driver did not know that we were there, and at that point, there was nowhere he could go. Given that it took us several tries to get him to actually stop moving and come to a complete stop, red flags started popping up. Our curiosity was piqued.