Afghanistan - Op VERITAS

Afghanistan - a worth while Op ?

  • Yes. Job done, bring them home.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, but plenty still to do

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No - over extending the Army

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No. We should never have got involved.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Book Reviewer
From this month's Soldier magazine, for those who do not habitually sight:

the dream comes true

A DEMOCRATIC Afghan election without major bloodshed would have seemed an impossible dream just a few years ago.

In a country scarred by three decades of war and then terrorised by the monstrous rule of the Taliban, such hopes would have seemed almost laughable.

But last month, with the help of British troops, that impossible dream became a reality.

In the British sector of Kabul, an area accounting for one fifth of the capital, a reinforced company from the 1st Battalion, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment scored an early success by cracking a terrorist cell just a few weeks before the vote.

The 160-strong British force then took to the capital’s streets to ensure a staggering 90 per cent of the electorate voted in the country’s first nationwide elections.

Weeks of scare tactics by anti-coalition militia failed to frighten off millions of voters, who queued at polling stations, many sitting cross-legged outside from dawn.

Just weeks before the elections, troops from 1 WFR dealt their first crippling blow to anti-coalition militia hiding in Kabul.

Acting on solid intelligence, three call-signs launched simultaneous attacks on three areas where high-ranking terrorists were known to be hiding.

While soldiers from the Afghan National Directorate of Security arrested eight suspects British forces provided them with extra muscle should they need it.

The 1 WFR call signs set up a cordon around the area, creating a safe environment for the Afghan forces to operate in as well as providing EOD and medical back-up.

As a result of the raid a second arrest operation was launched days later, with British troops again providing support while Afghanis took custody of a further seven suspected terrorists.

In both raids a significant number of weapons and cash were also captured.

Although British commanders couldn’t be certain the terrorists would strike during the election, their fears of a spectacular attack were very real.

With key terrorists under arrest, all five platoons of 1 WFR’s Kabul Patrols Company, 160 men in all, hit the capital’s streets for election weekend.

Military policeman LCpl David Hogg (156 Provost Coy) was among the soldiers who witnessed the birth of democracy in Kabul.

He said: “There weren’t that many vehicles on the streets during the elections but there were still lots of people out and about. They seemed to be very happy and there was almost a carnival atmosphere as people went to vote – it was amazing to be part of that.”

Col Charlie Darell, commander of British forces, admitted the vote was far from perfect but reckoned the elections were a resounding success for the people of Afghanistan.

“Those of us who were here on election day, from me down to the lowest rifleman, felt we were witnessing something genuinely historic,” he said.

“Clearly some things went wrong. I met one bloke who said he’d voted twice, while some people didn’t get to vote at all.

“But a lot of people did vote and I’m damn sure the number of people who turned out to vote [90 per cent of the electorate] would have put the West to shame.”

Not only was polling day a success for Afghanistan, it was also a huge victory against the Taliban and other terrorist groups who had threatened violence.

Col Darell said: “They had set out to derail the political process through acts of intimidation, violence and [terrorist] spectaculars and they could have succeeded.

“If they had hit [interim president] Hamid Karzai’s helicopter with a rocket that would have been a spectacular and that would have caused the process to stumble significantly, but that didn’t happen.”

Every member of the public Soldier approached on the streets of Kabul welcomed the elections and was eager to share their hopes for the war-torn country.

Imal Gamil, 25, said more Afghanis were now able to go to school and added: “I now want peace for all Afghanistan.” Speaking in faltering English, Mohammed Grafi, 30, said: “For years we were unhappy now things are getting better.”

Asked if he welcomed British troops, he said simply: “Yes, they make us safe.”

Latif Karimi, 21, was eager to thank British troops for their work in Afghanistan. He said: “Without their help there would have been another civil war in Afghanistan for sure. We have had many wars and we could not allow another.”

Latif was speaking on the steps of Kabul’s wrecked Musical Training Centre. The building was bombed during the 1992-96 civil war and its members, in common with all musicians, were beaten by the Taliban and had their instruments destroyed.

After years of oppression, artists and many thousands of refugees have returned to Kabul and news of the spread of democracy will be music to their ears.

There are 17,000 US troops in Afghanistan and I believe around 2,000 Brits at present. The largest European contingent is from Germany- their largest overseas deployment since WWII.

Talking to a BFBS cameraman who has recently returned from there, he said that the Brits regard themselves as the Forgotten Army.

Well done guys...and well done Soldier.

Le Chevre
welldone guys, be proud of your toil and effort.

it will be worthit!!!

agent smith


Book Reviewer
on the same topic:
from FOCUS magazine Nov 04:
FOCUS editor Graham Bound recently returned from Afghanistan. Here he reports on the close support RAF Harriers are providing in the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban, and on the work of the UK Hercules aircrew.

SIX Harrier ground attack aircraft from 3 Squadron RAF are flying regular missions in support of American ground forces hunting Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the south-eastern region of Afghanistan. The Harriers (two of which are on permanent 30 minutes’ notice to fly) have proved their worth without firing a single rocket or dropping a bomb in anger. According to the pilots, the mere sight of an aircraft’s distinctive silhouette and the roar of its engine has been enough to drive off enemy forces or persuade them to surrender.

The Harriers also deterred terrorists planning to upset Afghanistan’s presidential elections. Pilots were tasked to fly low over villages and towns where intelligence suggested there were concentrations of guerrilla fighters intent on trouble. The deployment was requested by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US forces on Operation Enduring Freedom. The jets on standby can be over a firefight in minutes. “We can mount a graduated response,” said Harvey Smyth. “If we arrive on the scene and a show of force doesn’t do the trick, then we may fire a warning shot with a single rocket into a piece of desert. If that doesn’t do the job, then we can salvo off up to 38 rockets.”

If the worst comes to the worst, the Harriers can drop 1,000lb laser or satellite-guided bombs. Satellite guidance means that the bombs can be targeted even through cloud.

Harrier pilots have had to cope with calls for help shouted into microphones by junior soldiers who are under fire and of course under stress. "Sometimes we can be the calming influence on a situation, just by our tone of voice on the radio,” said Harvey Smyth.

Although the Americans can operate unmanned reconnaisance drones – sometimes controlling them from bases in the US – it can take many hours for a drone to be prepared for flight and then reach its target. That is often too long for troops who are just a few hours from action. A pair of Harriers can be scrambled in minutes and be making passes over a target from a discreet distance soon afterwards. They can target a specific house, photographing all entrances and exits. Photographs can be in the hands of troops within a few hours.

The Harrier force is also on call to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), supporting their peacekeeping and nationbuilding role which extends beyond the Kabul area by providing aerial imagery.

The detachment’s commanding officer, Group Captain Andy Golledge, is more than satisfied with the success of the deployment. He now intends to reduce the size of the unit as much as possible. It has already been reduced from 280 personnel during the introductory phase to just over 200. By early November that number should be down to 180 personnel; its likely strength until the deployment ends around June 2005. In that time pilots and support staff from 1 and 4 Squadrons will also deploy to Kandahar for three-month tours.

Afghanistan’s trusty C130 shuttle service

A SOLE RAF C130 Hercules transport aircraft provides an airborne shuttle service around Afghanistan. Operated by crews from 47 and 70 Squadrons, both based at RAF Lynham, operating a daily “round robin” route, carrying cargo and multinational personnel. Ground-to air missiles may remain in the hands of hostile forces, so the aircraft’s schedules are not advertised, and routes are varied.

On the day that Focus flew aboard Hilton 47 the aircraft flew out of Kandahar and climbed to just 250 feet for a 20-mile roller-coaster ride. It was possible to count the camels grazing on the scrubby semi-desert below. Navigation became a line of sight affair as the copilot uttered instructions that included, “head for that dip between the two bumps in the hills.”

Eventually the pilot took the Hercules to a smoother 14,000 feet flightpath. Then a long approach to the remote northeastern town of Maimana ended with a bone-crunching landing on a crushed rock airstrip.

For Afghanistan operations, the Hercules is self sufficient to handle repairs away from base.

This article has been adapted from an article which appears in this month's edition of FOCUS magazine.


Huzza for the crabs and Fat Albert - Huzza! :wink:

Lee Shaver

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