Being watched on the Afghan frontline

Being watched on the Afghan frontline
By Alex Thomson Updated on 15 March 2010
Embedded with the Coldstream Guards as they come under heavy fire in Afghanistan, Alex Thomson writes that the Taliban insurgents are constantly on the watch for Nato's next move.

It will be the longest and deepest mission that the Coldstream Guards' elite 1 Company has undertaken in seven months. Into an area which has seen few - if any - Nato forces.

And so it is that, as ever, there are two briefings to be had the day before: official and unofficial, officers and men.

Official: enter Major Toby Till, commander of 1 Company, in the briefing tent at the P4 base in the Helmand district of Babaji.

You get the impression these days that he pretty much is telling us just what he's told his men. Nothing "hush, hush" or can't say, about this. We will go in before dawn in three Chinooks to land in a field, not a mile from the base itself. So much for the security of the area after nine years of American-led occupation.

And then? Well, nobody really knows of course. But one thing Major Till is certain of, we will be watched almost from the moment the first soldier hits the mud of that poppy field, by the insurgents.

More from Alex Thomson in Afghanistan
- Troops take lonely walk to diffuse Afghan IEDs
- Gruelling Afghan patrol proves Taliban threat
- Follow Alex Thomson on Twitter: @alextomo

There is a clear plan to search a number of compounds and conduct surveillance on how the insurgents are coming in from the west, via tunnels under the major irrigation canal, to mount ambushes and plant IEDs.

There is much talk of "partnership" with the Afghan Army who will be coming along. "Partnership" you note - the days of "mentoring" are gone, in this new politically-correct world of Afghanisation.


"Watching them watching you while the eyes of the world just stare"
Todays words of wisdon to bring some sparkel to your day! :clap:

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