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Published:July 8th, 2006 05:09 EST
British Military Officers Ride Motorcycles for Afghan Charity

British Military Officers Ride Motorcycles for Afghan Charity

By Joe Campbell

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan " Two British military officers are riding motorcycles from Afghanistan to Germany to raise money for a charity benefiting Afghans with birth defects and those injured by landmines.

British Army Lieutenant Colonels Felix Gedney and Gary Bateman are riding from Kabul to Monchengladbach to raise awareness and money for the Sandy Gall Afghanistan Appeal charity. The organization provides artificial limbs and mobility aids for Afghan patients, primarily landmine victims, according to the agency`s Web site.

We had our motorcycles crated and shipped to Kabul on a plane for this event, " said Colonel Gedney.

Each man is riding a 600cc Yamaha Tenere dirt bike that has been specially equipped and loaded with spare tires, tools and other essential items for the journey across mountains and desert terrain.

After routes were mapped, motorcycles equipped, passports and visas prepared, the adventurers began the first day of their trek June 30 leaving behind Kabul and well-wishers who turned out to see them off on their 4,300 mile expedition.

We expect it to take us five or six weeks to reach our destination, " said Colonel Bateman as the pair and their support crew visited members of the Panjshir Provincial Reconstruction Team. The crew stopped at the PRT`s safe house and communication site for a comfort break as the two made their way up the Hindu Kush mountain passes toward Tajikistan.

The support team dropped off well south of the Anjuman Pass on July 1 when they were no longer able to traverse the road which turns to little more than goat trails.

Individuals interested in making a donation or tracking the progress of Colonels Gedney and Bateman may do so at http://www.longwayhome.org.uk/. For more information on the Sandy Gall charity, log on to www.sandygallsafghanistanappeal.org.

The multi-service Panjshir PRT includes various military specialties from a Navy engineer to Army Civil Affairs Soldiers to Air Force security, services and transportation specialists. The team`s mission is to help extend the reach of the Afghan government through regional reconstruction projects, and enhance security and stability through mentoring and outreach programs.