Despite the opening of a major branch of Boots the Chemist in Kabul, and another planned at a secret location in Helmand province, members of the armed forces are complaining of a lack of available male grooming and over the counter medicines, flavoured lubes and other everyday pharmaceutical products appropriate to a modern fighting force.
“What we need in the theatre of war is access to a range of effective make-up remover which is kind to the skin and quick to apply in a combat context” said one soldier, Private Norman Smyth of the Welsh Fusiliers, who preferred not to be named. Many troops also want access to a wider choice of high factor sun creams, organic deodorants, fashion sunglasses and nail care accessories. Others say it’s all about relaxation, with foot spas and lavender pillows high on the agenda.
“Obviously kit like hot water bottles and hair dryers are less applicable here,” Smyth observed. “And we’ve been told it’s unwise to take some of our photographs of er post operational contact with the enemy to the photo store at Boots, Islamabad, despite the enticing offers on blow ups. Although we have been using Britax filters as part of our waterboarding treatments, to demonstrate a commitment to care of prisoners in our charge. What worries me is the amount of eye liner and mascara I see these guys buying. It’s all gone a bit “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” out here, which is possibly why Harry had to go home.”