BAGRAM — ISAF Commander Gen. John Campbell today ordered every single coalition member in Afghanistan to stop what they were doing and prepare to pick up brass from spent rounds used in combat and training there. Operation Hands Across Afghanistan is set to commence tomorrow at first light.
Campbell was very specific with his orders. "I want you to stand at double-arm intervals in a line across every province, then walk from one side of your province to the other and back," he announced to a crowd of 7,357 exhausted troops, a spectacle which was broadcast and transcribed to every other command in the country. "You too, Great Britain, don't think I can't see you."
Troops were ordered not to look up from the ground lest they should miss a piece of brass. "Do it right the first time, or by God we'll go back over the whole thing again," Campbell threatened. After retrieving the casings, units will separate them into NATO 7.62 and 5.56 casings in order to return the remaining brass to the Taliban as part of the Afghanistan withdrawal agreement.
Some servicemembers are wary. "I could see this going incredibly wrong," Pfc. Chuck Danner told Duffel Blog. "I mean, what if we accidentally put an ammo link in with the brass? Will they make us dump it out and start over?" Danner asked with a look of confused terror.
The soldier next to him, Spc. Barry Tindol, was resolute in his response. "I'll boot-check the countryside for IEDs before I do the brass sorting twice."
Campbell is adamant that ISAF forces must leave the country cleaner than they found it. "When I go back over the country and spot check, I don't want to find any cigarette butts, either," Campell added to his instructions.
Historically, scouring an entire country for litter can last as long as months. At the close of the Vietnam War, 6,239,006 pieces of brass were found at a cost of 1,430 American lives.