For sale: aircraft de-icing truck complete with cherry-picker, Hatz 2L40C "silent pack" Donkey engine, 8,000-litre chemical tank and dual guns fitted to the basket. One careful owner. In fact, as the vehicle was last used at Camp Bastion, that should probably read very careful.
The de-icers are among items being offered for sale at the MoD's "Afghan Disposals" website. Others include tools, latrines, a gym and Temporary Deployable Accommodation (TDAs), environmentally controlled accommodation featuring "ablutions, kitchen, dining, welfare, power generation, water and waste water treatment, fuel storage."
The prospect of a mobile laundry, featuring washing machines and dryers fitted in a shipping container, has apparently tempted a prospective buyer in New Zealand, and a large quantity of "unopened and sterile" Stryker Hoffman II field kits are also available, though maybe not if the interested party has a Tora Bora postcode.
Everything, it seems, must go. British troops are due to pull out of Afghanistan in 2014, and roughly 85,000 items have already been sold. Weapons and ammunition are not among the items available but it is hoped revenue from sales will make up some of the costs of withdrawal. With the cost of reconditioning vehicles and bringing back other items to the UK, the total cost could be as much as £2bn.
Speaking about the cost of withdrawal, the MoD said: "The work is being conducted in a way that achieves both good order and represents value for money to the taxpayer."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond came under fire recently for allowing a £1.8bn underspend in the Ministry of Defence's 2012-13 budget. He was also heckled at last month's Conservative Party conference by Colonel Ian Brazier (retd.) of the Royal Fusiliers when he hailed cuts to the armed services sop perhaps it's understandable that the MoD now seeks to raise cash by flogging off equipment that might best be described as battle-fatigued.
Unfortunately none of the items for sale on the Afghan Disposals site seems to include a price-tag or come with even a 12-month warranty, which might explain the small print:
"By ordering products via this website, you acknowledge that everything is being despatched directly from Camp Bastion, and therefore we are unable to accept returns."
Presumably shoppers may take their goods back in person if disappointed with the quality of their ML Douglas Aircraft De/Anti-icing truck - though getting someone to answer the door may prove problematic.