Highway of death

The soldiers were huddled in the TATA bus taking them back to Baghdad; they had enough of Saddam’s misadventure into Kuwait. Many of them had been involved in the torture and subjugation of the rich Kuwait and her subjects, but after months of that, they were happy to head for home. Bags of clothes, toys and the such, looted during their stay in Kuwait, had been hurriedly shoved under the seats. The officers carted bigger riches in their cars. The orders for retreat had come from Baghdad on 25th Feb.

The convoy started the slow drive back on the Abdali highway 80 from Jahra to Basra. Consisting of tanks, armoured vehicles, buses and assorted vehicles like cars, jeeps and trailers; they laboured up the Abdali pass. As they climbed the low hill, the fighter jets appeared on the skyline, flying towards them.

The first signs of the terror to follow started when the fighter jets strafed the front and back of the approximate 1500-2000 vehicle convoy. Then came the bombers. What followed was mayhem, ‘depleted uranium’ tipped shells, fuel air bombs, the bombs that first sucked out all oxygen from the air, bombarded the convoy to utter destruction. The convoy and much of life in those vehicles had no chance. They died a merciless death. This is how many subsequent reports summarised the event…

The horror of this could only be felt if you were there. I was there a few days after it happened. We went to see this while we were on the power network damage assessment trip to Kuwait following the land attacks. You could smell the cordite, you could smell burnt everything; you could see some burnt out skeletons. Most of the debris had been bulldozed to the side of the road.

My hands shook as I took these photographs.

This is the war you don’t normally see on your television or newspapers. Right or wrong, good or bad, I don’t know.

This is the infamous ‘Highway of death’, of the 91 Gulf war.


Happy Kitten said…
Well... from what I heard, they were not cruel to the Indians who were stranded in Kuwait... and I dont think they deserved such a treatment..

sadly this is the treatment that they are still getting.. i think they are a cursed lot..