View Full Version : The no-nookie rule in Afghanistan

10-01-2009, 10:07 PM
The no-nookie rule

Gloria Galloway

I saw the oddest thing on the boardwalk at the Kandahar Air Field yesterday. A young man – looked to be North American, but maybe I am not the best judge - and a young woman were sitting on a bench holding hands.

Now, that might be a common sight in Ottawa or Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal, but it is positively astonishing here in Afghanistan.

The Canadian and American militaries have a strict no-nookie rule. No hugging, no kissing, no hand-holding and certainly no carnal relations between men and women (and presumably between people of the same sex) while on the base. That goes for journalists too, by the way. And even married couples who happened to be deployed here at the same time.

So seeing such a flagrant violation of the rules was kind of shocking.

Not that anyone assumes that the rules are strictly adhered to.

Reporter colleagues have described driving around the base at night with military police and catching couples who wrongly thought the darkness was sufficient cover for a passionate interlude.

One reporter told me he has it on good authority that light armoured vehicles make excellent rendezvous spots because they are sound-proof.

And, let’s face it. There are thousands of young, good-looking people here. They are away from home, their loved ones, and in some cases their spouses for months one end. So it’s only natural that flames are occasionally ignited.

But I had never seen any couple flaunting their affections so openly.

On the other hand, maybe the military brass is prepared to look the other way if the paramours are not publicly aggressive.

When I went to what is the equivalent of the doctor’s office the other day I was surprised to find a rather large box of condoms sitting on the table next to me in the waiting room. They for people who are going on leave, it was explained to me later.

Right. And that concrete bunker beside my tent was built as shelter from a really bad rainstorm.