Faced with budget cuts and the prospect of a resurgent Taliban with revenge attacks from Al-Qaeda, the British Army in Afghanistan has proposed an innovative and cheap way of protecting its soldiers - the immediate painting of green cycle lanes across all strategic flashpoints in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. It is believed that this simple mechanism will provide 'almost certain' protection for soldiers at a fraction of the cost of conventional armour.
"Our funding is being slashed, and we were looking for new, cheaper ways to protect our men", explained commander-in-chief Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. "We can't afford decent body armour, let alone armoured vehicles. Then one of my advisers, who happened to previously work for Transport For London, told me that cyclist deaths in the UK had been all but eliminated by bike lanes, and the idea came to us in a flash."
To this end, an aggressive programme of bicycle lane painting was immediately put into place. Soldiers more used to maintaining heavy artillery were set to work painting green lanes over the rocky terrain, while a more elite team of experts followed at a distance, painting little bicycles once the green paint had dried.
"Yes, in this intial phase, casualites have been enormous," conceded the Brigadier. "Mainly due to enemy snipers and uneducated delivery van drivers. But once our propaganda campaign has promoted widespread understanding of the cycle lane concept, we expect things to improve. The Dutch are way ahead of us in this area - they have more cycle lanes than any other country, and have suffered no deaths in Afghanistan at all. Of course, they aren't actually fighting here."
Using the invulnerability of cycle lanes is not a new military tactic. In WWII Germany's Blitzkrieg was only slightly slowed by the overhead of painting green lanes through the streets of Belgium, and the invasion of Russia, 'Operation Dulux', was only thwarted by over-extension of paint supply lines and the fact that green lanes in the former soviet block were traditionally reserved for heavy-goods vehicles. Hitler's insistence that helemts be optional to increase visibility and "because they only give a false sense of confidence anyway" is also seen as a major tactical error.