For well over 20 years now, the Western TV News networks have used media security advisers to assist with their news gathering out in conflict areas around the world. They’re also used in other hostile environments such as natural disasters.

Here is literally a snapshot from back in 2007 of myself on the ground with a small media team while embedded with US Forces on the Afghan/Pakistan border areas of Khost and Paktika Provinces, Afghanistan.

It’s rare for an adviser to be accompanied on a military embed. However, apart from pro active security, the adviser can also call out exactly what’s playing out in front of the news crew, and therefore help capture the story.

Normally the adviser is used when the media team are outside of the security bubble and operating unilaterally.



Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 129 (2)

Myself holding a TV camera. Honoured that after 7 years of working with this great camera man, that due to the cramped space in the helicopter, he’s allowed me to touch such a precious and all important item…it would be like me giving him my rifle…or maybe not.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 005 (2)

The Blue Mosque in Khost City paid for by Saudi Arabia.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 016 (2)

A gathering of Regional tribal elders. Take away the plastic chairs and the AK47 assault rifle, and the photo could be from one of the earlier British Afghan wars of the 19th century.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 024 (2)

The local tribesmen welcoming each other to the gathering.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 028 (3)

Over the years from Dhofar, Oman to Pakistan, and all in between, I’ve normally been associated with this weapon from being in front of it…so nice to have the chance to be safely behind it.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 031 (2)

A wee break at a weapons bunker, Khost Province.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 035 (2)

Afghanistan is undoubtedly a beautiful landscape with beautiful people, but I have to remember that we’re all just one massive bulls eye as we travel from point A to point B.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 039 (2)

Still the massive target as we wind our way through the markets of Khost City.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 040 (2)

Kids appear from the middle of nowhere.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 041 (2)

American soldiers doing their very best to win hearts and minds by giving out winter clothing to the local kids…they certainly needed it…most were freezing.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 047 (2)

Scotty our cameraman taking some great shots.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 050 (2)

Where’s our winter clothes, we’re freezing too? Or words to that effect.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 051 (2)

I always say, kids all over the world are the same. Full of innocence, and just want to have fun, no matter what little they may have. But just look at this poor wee lassie’s skin. Aged with dry altitude air.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 063 (3)

I just farted to keep myself warm, and the wee laddie’s like “are you serious!”


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 072 (3)

The team interviewing an American officer about the local projects to win hearts and minds…or not?


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 082 (2)

I just ran into Waziristan, Pakistan to take this shot, then ran back again.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 095 (2)

Khost Governor and police chief waiting for US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to arrive by Chinook.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 096 (3)

Afghan police check point on the Pakistan border.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 104 (3)

Robert Gates thanking his troops and wishing them well.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 107 (4)

Blackhawk about to lift off from the wilds of Khost Province.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 147 (2)

One of the smallest and scariest (again) outposts overlooking the border with Pakistan. The enemy actually dropped mortar rounds inside the tiny compound…good firing.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 145 (2)

An early morning shot as the sun comes up.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 150 (2)

Training his sights on the border.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 158 (2)

Familiarizing myself with the ground around the FOB…I like the look of that big gun.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 161 (2)

The oldest sniper in town. Thanks to an awesome bunch of young men, keeping my eye in…you just never know when I might need it? Take the chance when you can!


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 167 (2)

My favourite stand to position…options.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 172 (2)

Off to the next location on the border.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 174 (2)

A serious reminder on a daily basis.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 183 (2)

Off again, feeling very vulnerable…again!


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 176 (2)

Nice knowing though that we’re supported by the big guns. Why Super Jamal? Well, when the lads were lying on their beds discussing what they should name their gun…one lad looked at the ceiling, and the bricks were named Super Jamal!


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 215 (2)

There you go…Super Jamal.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 187 (2)

The workout is free, but you’ve just got to get there…security included.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 189 (2)

Looking over the border to a Pakistani military fort in Waziristan.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 192 (2)

Just loving the firepower at this gym.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 198 (2)

Apart from a wee bit of barbwire protecting the observation post, the porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is but a line in the sand.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 203 (2)

The convoy coming for us can be seen for miles…and miles…by us…and the enemy.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 223 (2)

It’s mine!!!!! Yes, the clacker…it’s mine! If all hell breaks loose tonight, this is where I’m heading.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 248 (2)

The neighbours know how to protect their family.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 277 (2)

Apart from the flight out of here…almost the end of an awesome journey…learnt heaps, with a terrific news gathering crew.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 281 (2)

First leg of the flight out…in a Chinook from the border area.


Khost-Paktika embed Dec 07 285 (2)

…and now onto the C130 with this awesome SNCO who was with us for a lot of the time…he’s off on a well deserved R&R.

Well, there’s a wee look at a trip with a media team as a security adviser. No, not there to just take photos…although what an opportunity.

I hope you like the wee story, and the photos. 2007 was a bad year for US troops and the overall situation inside Afghanistan. The embed with US troops was really the only way to move around outside of Kabul…even though we become as much of a target as the soldiers.

A huge thank you to the troops for hosting us, great times with great people, still thinking of you all, and hoping that you’re still safe today.










Published by: bobshepherdauthor

Bestselling author Bob Shepherd has spent nearly forty years operating in conflict areas around the world. A twenty year veteran of Britain’s elite 22 SAS Regiment with nearly two decades of private security work to his credit, Bob has successfully negotiated some of the most dangerous places on earth as a special forces soldier and a private citizen. Bob comments regularly on security issues and has appeared on CNN International, BBC, SKY News, and BBC Radio. He has also authored numerous articles and books including the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller The Circuit. In addition to writing and lecturing, Bob continues to advise individuals operating in hostile environments. For more of his insights on security and geopolitics visit www.bobshepherdauthor.com

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