Letter Re: A Simple But Effective Firearms Caching Technique from Afghanistan

CPT Rawles:
While there are many potential methods to emplacing a cache of supplies, I wanted to provide some insight into a very simple but very effective cache method that I have saw during a recent deployment to Afghanistan.

Most Afghans rely on the karez system for getting water for survival and watering plants. For an aerial view of what the karez system looks like, look at Michael Yon’s photo essay on water in Afghanistan. The lines of holes dug in the ground are the karez system. Some of these tunnels are very deep in order to get to the water. The Russians, unfortunately, did a very effective job of destroying karez systems during the denial phase of their war in Afghanistan. Fortunately, the Afghans are extremely resourceful, and have rebuilt many of the systems.

When one goes down into a hole, at the bottom there is a tunnel with water flowing through it. The tunnel becomes so small that a Soldier will have to remove all of his gear except his clothing. Armed with only a Beretta M9 and a flashlight, our great Soldiers go into these tunnels to clear them like the tunnel rats of Viet Nam. While clearing the tunnels, our Soldiers found that the tunnels often expanded into underground rooms with caches in them. We frequently found drugs and weapons cached in these underground caverns. Interestingly, the weapons were not rusted by the high humidity or dirty though it was impossible to get them into the underground cavern without submerging them in the muddy water.

The Afghan solution for extremely simple and cheap caches was to use an old [truck] tire tube like those that some Americans tube down rivers in. Cut the tube all the way through, which creates an open rubber tube. Fold one end over in a gooseneck fashion, and tie it off. Insert your supplies in the open end. Once loaded, fold the open end in a gooseneck fashion and tie it off. Once in the tube with both ends tied off, the equipment is protected from dirt and moisture. – W.J.