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It was decided that Kurdish members of the royal bodyguards would be sent to Afghanistan. The dispatch of royal guards or regular troops in the capital city would require parliamentary consent, and there could be empty spots in the regular military if they were sent, so the Royal Bodyguards was mobilized.
No matter how cooperative the National Assembly was with the government, the troop dispatch issue was bound to be sensitive, so it was intended to avoid complications by sending the Royal Bodyguards.
On the other hand, Kurdish soldiers were mostly familiar with guerrilla warfare as many of them used to serve as Syrian militia, so the leadership of the royal territory had decided that it would be a great opportunity for Kurdish soldiers to build operational experience of regular troops.
One of the reasons for the decision to send the Royal Bodyguards was that all infantrymen in Kazakhstan were familiar with vehicles such as multipurpose armored trucks and armored jeeps, but Kurds were still inexperienced in vehicle manipulation. So this was a good chance for them to fully familiarize themselves during the dispatch period.
Unlike Syria, where the Kurds used to be guerrilla soldiers by arming themselves only, Kazakhstan was a vast place, so they could not do anything without vehicles.
It was not easy to use vehicles in some of the places of eastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan as they were mountainous, but mobility was required to guard the thousands of kilometers of border with limited forces.
Moreover, in order to cope with bomb attacks in Afghanistan, armored vehicles and jeeps were necessary, so driving lessons were in full swing all over the royal territory at the moment.
“Chul-hwan, how’s the driving lesson going?”
“So far, we have half of them learned, but we’re still far from being done.”
“It shouldn’t be that difficult because all vehicles are automatic.”
“They’ve never driven cars before, and they’re afraid of unfamiliar machines. When they sit in the driver’s seat, they get frozen, and it’s driving me crazy.”
“The Kurdish fighters who are famous for their bravery are afraid of machines?”
“They’re brave on the battlefield, but they’re afraid to deal with modern conveniences. And they are really careful because they know it’s expensive equipment.”
There were some Kurds who knew how to drive, but the majority of them were unfamiliar with vehicles. They freaked whenever they saw complicated equipment and tried not to touch it at all. In other words, there were all technology illiterate.
The number of troops to be sent this time was 2,000, one regiment-size.
“How do you plan to get to Afghanistan?”
“It would be convenient to go by train, but it’d be better for them to drive as part of the training.”
“The distance they will be traveling in Kazakhstan itself is not short. The roads in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan can be quite tough, so what are you going to do when they get into accidents?”
The straight distance from the border of Kazakhstan through Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan was only 500 kilometers away. However, the distance the troops would be traveling within Kazakhstan was even longer. It was because the distance from the Arirang royal territory to the Kyrgyz boundary was over 1,900 kilometers long.
“I’m worried about that, too.”
“You might have a serious damage in your forces while trying to drive in this winter. They’ll be extremely exhausted to travel that far. Just go by train.”
Cho Chul-hwan, who tried to push the idea of training in winter, soon nodded at Youngho’s words. It was overwhelming to think about camping and eating in the middle of the road in the winter of Kazakhstan, but he still wanted to leave some room to his thought.
“Since we still have a month left, let’s think about it. The situation will be probably better than what we think since they’ll be traveling down to the south.”
“Are you still thinking about making the Kurdish warriors as the main force of the Royal Bodyguards?”
“They train two times longer and harder than the regular Kazakh troops, so why not raise them as special forces? It’s a shame if we let these fierce warriors go to waste.”
“Are they that great?”
“When I see them training, I just automatically nod my head.”
“All right. Let’s make the troops we’re sending this time a trial group, but I have one condition. They all have to serve for the long-term.”
When Youngho gave his word, Cho Chul-hwan left the office excitedly.
According to Chul-hwan, it seemed that Kurdish soldiers were doing a surprising job despite the harsh training. They gladly participated in training to think that they would be protecting Princess Jelyan, and the fact that the monthly paycheck was an unimaginable amount in Syria also played a part.
The visit of the head of South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration and Korean military personnel at the royal territory coincided with the time the training period of the Kurdish soldiers who were to be sent to Afghanistan. To an outsider, the atmosphere of the royal territory seemed as if the soldiers were about to go to war.
The director of the Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration asked with a worried look,
“Your Highness, is everything all right?”
“Oh, did we startle you? The troops to be sent to Afghanistan under adjustment training.”
“You are sending troops to Afghanistan?”
“I guess you haven’t heard the news. We already have our troops spread in Tajikistan and some of them are in the U.S. occupational camp in northern Afghanistan as well.”
“Wow, I just envy Kazakhstan that you can act so boldly without having to think about China or Russia’s eyes. You know, South Korea is in no position to act without powerful neighboring countries and the U.S.’s agreement.”
“You know, those countries can’t stop us because they need us too for their interest. Korea should also be involved in lobbying in the U.S. actively instead of getting swayed by U.S. decisions, or your position as an ally will be shaken as well.”
“I agree with your opinion 100 percent, but there are no governors or politicians who would take such bold steps. That’s why we came to see you.”
Then he took out a document from his briefcase.
“This is a weapon’s technology that is a little bit too much for us to develop. If the neighboring countries knew about this, Korea wouldn’t be able to handle it, so I’d like this to be produced in Kazakhstan. It’s the next generation of laser guns that can bend lasers.”
He seemed to be expecting Youngho’s excitement as he brought a new technology, but he soon looked a little disappointed when Youngho remained calm after hearing him.
It was not surprising to Youngho as he had already expected it.
“We have also been working on laser gun technology for years now.”
“I’m well aware of that. But the technology that we’ve brought in is a generation ahead of what the U.S. and Russia have introduced. Isn’t it amazing how you can bend a laser at your disposal?”
As Youngho’s response was more lukewarm than expected, the head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration was trying to explain it and persuade Youngho with all his might.
“Can’t you produce laser guns in Korea?”
“It’s not that we can’t, but it’s a destructive weapon that’s going to break the balance in the region, so there’s going to be a lot of checks from neighboring countries. Also, if this will encourage neighboring countries to develop similar-level weapons, which will end up provoking an arms race.”
“You mean there’s no problem if you import it from Kazakhstan.”
“That’s right. What would other countries say if Kazakhstan made them? We can’t do so much in Korea with the reality we are facing now. We’re also worried about technology leak.”
“You’ve got the intelligence agency, but the technology is still getting out?”
“I’m afraid so. There’s nothing money can’t do.”
“Kazakhstan also suffers from technology leaks.”
“But I heard that the Arirang royal territory is not the case. Although it’s a multi-ethnic country, I think Kazakhstan is the only country that has united around a royal family. South Korea, though it is a single ethnic nation, is not able to show that. We’re only busy making conflicts among us.”
“What do you mean? The excellence and strength of the Korean people are known to the whole world. The only problem is the corrupt politics.”
As a Korean, hearing about Korea’s reality saddened Youngho. Korea could not even start producing laser gun weapons that it developed because of other countries’ pressures. It was a shame that the government was not acting more boldly but rather passively in the global society.
“Well, I’m intrigued, but how can we develop this in Kazakhstan? You know our technology level is not up to Korea’s.”
“We are willing to send Korean scientists and related engineers here. It’s only possible if you say yes.”
It would be strange to refuse high-quality scientists and even production engineers.
“So, the only things we need to provide would be research and production facilities.”
“We will also pay for the equipment and devices that will go into the production facilities from Korea. Instead, but in exchange, we would like you to supply the core raw materials from Kazakhstan.”
“I don’t know what raw materials you need, but if it’s a resource we don’t have, it won’t exist on Earth.”
“Then are you agreeing to this?”
“Of course, I have to. I’ll make sure that we’ll make it happen no matter other countries try to pressure us.”
“I’ll report to my home country and work on it right away. We’re rather in a hurry.”
“I don’t think anything urgent has come up new. It must be probably because of North Korea and China.”
“That’s right. We’re facing a situation where it won’t be strange if a war breaks out anytime. If we don’t have the power to protect ourselves, the future of the Korean Peninsula will be grim.”
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