KAPISA PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN – A battalion of soldiers has unexpectedly and completely withdrawn from its Area of Operations after discovering a "spider-hole" containing a giant arachnid.
A squad of soldiers from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion 4th Infantry Regiment were on the second day of a routine joint-patrol mission, searching for Taliban weapons caches near the village of Cirith Ungol, when Sgt. Vic Duhamel discovered a ten-meter hole bored into the side of a mountain.
A video shot on a helmet-mounted camera and obtained by Duffel Blog shows Duhamel and his clean-shaven squad poking at the hole while making generic and wholesome comments about America and brandishing pictures of the families and sweethearts they can't wait to see back home.
At one point Duhamel jokes that it sounds like there's some kind of animal down there, before being engulfed in an explosion of hairy legs. At this point the image becomes extremely distorted, although a large amount of gunfire and high-pitched screaming in English and Pashto can be heard.
Immediate pleas for help over the radio were disregarded by officers in the battalion's Tactical Operations Center, who decided that giant spiders were not automatically declared hostile under the ISAF Rules of Engagement, and then peppered the patrol with multiple requests for information. Duffel Blog has obtained a partial transcript of the radio call:
Sgt. Duhamel: "Warrior Main, Charlie 3-2. We're hearing a lot of rustling down there, like an animal or -- AAAAAAAAAAAAA! It's a giant spider! Stand by for a fire mission, danger close"
Watch Officer: "Ah, roger Charlie 3-2, this is Warrior Main. Division wants to know how big the spider is for their storyboard?"
Sgt. Duhamel: "I don't fucking know! Maybe two hundred pounds!"
Watch Chief: "A two hundred pound spider would be the size of a large pig. Big, yes, but not 'giant.'"
Sgt. Duhamel: "Well however big it is just fucking kill it!"
Fires Officer: "Charlie 3-2, Warrior Fires. Even a small horse weighs about nine hundred pounds. I think it would have to weigh more than a thousand to qualify as 'giant'."
Sgt. Duhamel: "Oh my God! Kill it! Kill it!"
Watch Officer: "Any station, any station, this is Warrior Main: does a thousand pound spider even sound realistic? Break. I'd be more willing to believe two hundred."
[Unknown]: "It got Sarge! What do we do? Game over, man!"
Charlie Company: "Warrior Main, Charlie Main. A two hundred pound spider would be all legs. It's probably at least three hundred."
Executive Officer: "Warrior Main, this is Warrior Five. Just submit "375", which sounds enough like an average of a real weight range that Division will accept it, but still be kinda blown away."
[Unknown]: [In Pashto] "Bend over, Gulbuddin. You do not wish to die a virgin, do you?"
Battalion S-2: "This is Warrior Deuce. Actually Archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered fossils of prehistoric spiders weighing up to 175 pounds, so two hundred isn't totally off the wall."
Watch Officer: "This is Warrior Main. Shut the fuck up Warrior Deuce. Charlie 3-2, how copy? ... Charlie 3-2?"
"They never had [Positive Identification]," explained Capt. Johnathon Cleary, the watch officer at the time. "When we later asked if was a giant brown recluse or a giant daddy long legs, they couldn't even take the time to give us a proper situation report; just a large wet smacking sound, like when you smash a watermelon with a hammer, then suck out all the innards."
After the survivors had returned to Forward Operating Base Tagab, LtCol. Joe Hemming, the battalion commander, ordered an immediate retrograde to Bagram Airbase.
"I guess we should have stayed away from Cirith Ungol, which apparently means 'Pass of the Giant Spider'; but even when the locals told us that it really was guarded by a giant fucking spider we kinda thought it was a mistranslation," he explained. "My S-2 was convinced that when the interpreter kept saying 'death will come at you with great hairy legs' he was just warning us about the women."
Capt. Cleary added, "In all fairness, the literal meaning was 'pass of the bigger than all arthropod', since Pashto lacks a unique word for spider or a superlative form of big. It also doesn't help that 'arthropod' doubles as slang for 'Jew', so you can understand our initial confusion."
Both Hemming and Cleary spoke with Duffel Blog while hiding on top of their desks with a flashlight and large baseball bat.
The spider has been tentatively identified by Army biologists as an arachnus gigantus, a monstrously large species of arachnid best known for ambushing wayward Afghan travelers and hiding under toilet lids, like the one in your bathroom.