Panorama tonight - the return to bomb alley BBC1 - 8.30

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by viceroy, Jan 31, 2011.

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    US Marines revisit 'bomb alley'

    Three months after British forces in Afghanistan handed over control of Sangin to the Americans, reporter Ben Anderson went on patrol with the US 3rd Battalion 5th Marines "Lima Company" in the area still widely viewed as the country's most dangerous.

    No-one knew it yet, but we were standing on a "daisy chain" of seven home-made bombs, buried inches beneath our feet and designed to wipe out the entire squad of US marines.

    The bombs were attached to a wire, which led down an alleyway off the path we were nervously inching along.

    Somewhere, someone with a battery at the other end of that wire was watching us, waiting for the perfect moment to connect the circuit and detonate the bombs.

    We had tried to avoid walking through this very corner, knowing full well such obvious routes are favoured by the Taliban in placing their IEDs. But there was no other way forward.

    Roughly 20 metres past the corner, there was a huge explosion behind me.


    Ben Anderson reports from Afghanistan
    The Battle for Bomb Alley
    BBC One, Monday, 31 January at 2030GMT
    Or watch it later via the
    I turned and saw the air thick with swirling dust. Stones and rocks started landing all around. As the air began to clear I saw a crater, and could hear someone groaning.

    I walked back and saw a marine known as "Big T" on his hands and knees, patting the ground around him, trying to work out where he was.

    Somehow, no one had been killed - the marines walking behind me were all standing between the IEDs when they went off.

    Big T was severely concussed, and temporarily blind and deaf. Two others had been badly shaken, but it seemed miraculous that no one was dead. It was four days after Christmas.

    Familiar path

    The area claimed the lives of 106 British soldiers in four years.

    In the three months since the US forces took over from British troops, more than 20% of the combat power of 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in Sangin have been killed or injured.

    The town's reputation as the most dangerous place in Afghanistan is undimmed by the arrival of Marine muscle and firepower.

    So far, 27 have died and more than 140 have been injured. These numbers are staggering, even by Sangin standards.
  2. Ben Andersen has been reporting from the Afghan for many years and was previously embedded with both US and UK forces. He went on to publish some of the more controversial footage that the BBC did not show on VBS TV. Looking forward to it.
  3. "The US Marines abandoned over half the old British bases, but now they admit that was a mistake"
  4. this doesn't seem like any kind of victory!
  5. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I'm seriously impressed with the CO of the Co being featured. Not conforming to stereotype at all. A tough, aggressive but thinking soldier. Not a slave to the party line but some one who has bought into the mission.

    Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE so please excuse fat fingers and slips of the keyboard.
  6. I'm Sorry... But how does knocking down the local's homes going to help anything? Never mind not even checking if anyone is living there before blowing a ****ing hole into the side of it.
  7. A bloody costly mistake.

    Ditto about the CO.
  8. Genuine. I was in the Falklands and would not like to experience that again.....
  9. It was a good report on one operation but said little about the overall situation in Sangin, which is what I was expecting.
  10. Deleted post.
  11. Got it recorded, will watch it tomorrow, can't be arrsed moving to put the TV on now :)
  12. Nice to see the terp cutting fast and loose on the translation at various points!
  13. I spent the better part of 2010 in Sangin and I can't help but think of those that lost their lives to protect the same houses being demolished. I wasn't party to the decision making process that led to the abandonment of the PBs, but there were some very worried Brit officers predicting exactly this kind of cluster last September. All fell on deaf ears. So it's out with hearts and minds then... hope they know what they are doing...