US Media


War Hero
This rather unflattering article appeared in the Washington Post recently. It's a tad long, so I've had to post it in several parts.

Nice to know British troops are only involved in a sideshow.

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, May 3, 2002; Page A20

BAGRAM, Afghanistan, May 2 -- British forces have returned to the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan to press the search for al Qaeda fighters, deploying about 1,000 troops to comb through a former base used by Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.

Along with Afghan troops and some U.S. Special Forces soldiers, the commandos from the British Royal Marines ascended in helicopters and vehicles to peaks reaching 13,000 feet on Monday to inspect "a strategic, key location of our enemy," Brig. Roger Lane announced today.

"I can confirm that this is one of the few remaining areas that have never been investigated by coalition forces, and we have found reasons to believe that it is or has been a base for al Qaeda forces," Lane said at Bagram air base, the main base for U.S. and British military forces operating in the area. Over time, he added, coalition troops will "remove the cancer of al Qaeda from the very heart of Afghanistan."

Yet Operation Snipe, as it has been dubbed, appears to be a secondary mission to the one U.S. troops are preparing for on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. U.S. and Afghan officials have said that coalition forces plan to target groups of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who have taken refuge in Pakistan's largely lawless border tribal areas. According to a senior U.S. defense official, Pakistani troops, with U.S. support, are planning to attack the small concentrations of enemy fighters and drive them back toward Afghanistan, where U.S. and other coalition forces will be waiting.

Some intelligence reports have suggested that bin Laden and his top lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri, may be hiding in the tribal areas, although sightings remained unconfirmed. Other top figures could be there as well, including Jalaluddin Haqqani, a Taliban commander from eastern Afghanistan closely allied with al Qaeda.

The new British operation, by comparison, seems geared more toward sweeping out an area previously used by Islamic radicals, preventing their return rather than directly confronting known pockets of guerrillas. Over four days in the mountains, the British and allied forces have not encountered any enemy fighters.


War Hero
Hopefully the rest of the article will fit in this post.

"The current operation is a precursor of more to follow," said a senior military official. He described the British force as focused on choking enemy supply lines and uncovering weapons caches rather than assaulting al Qaeda fighters.

If al Qaeda forces "choose to fight, we're more than ready to oblige," he added.

British officers would not reveal the location but said it is not along the border and that all activities would remain "strictly in Afghan territory," as Lt. Col. Paul Harradine put it.

Asked if bin Laden might be in the area of the operation, Harradine said, "It would be wonderful if he was." However, Harradine offered no intelligence suggesting that bin Laden or other major figures were in the region.

Capt. Paul Hoare, a Royal Marine taking part in the operation, said finding the enemy was not necessarily the goal. "If we don't see anybody, this mission is still a success," he told pool reporters in a ravine used as a forward operating base in the area. "It means we've cleared them out. We're denying this as a facility for them. If we deny them that, we've won."

The last time the British announced an operation, two weeks ago, it turned out that the commandos had simply deployed to Shahikot valley south of Gardez, the site in March of the biggest ground battle of the war, to look for signs of any returning fighters. British officers portrayed it as a major offensive, but U.S. officials later characterized it as little more than a training exercise.

The scale of the newest operation appeared to be similar, judging by local reports. The Afghan Islamic Press agency, based in Pakistan, reported that the operation was taking place about 20 miles from Gardez, and coalition military officials suggested that the account was reasonably accurate.

Residents in Pol-e Alam, the capital of Logar province about 30 miles north of Gardez, said that a convoy of nine Western military vehicles and several helicopters had arrived on Monday to set up a base south of the city in a desert area known as Dasht-e Padkhab. The British Marines' Operation Snipe got underway the same day, suggesting that the locals may have been describing a forward operating area.

Reporters were taken today to such a base, essentially a fueling station for helicopters flying toward the main operating area. On a plain near two parallel dry riverbeds, two giant bladders had been set up, each containing 12,000 gallons of jet fuel. British officers said they decided to establish the depot so helicopters would not have to return all the way to Bagram to refuel, a lesson they learned from their first operation last month.

In contrast, reported movements of U.S. troops have taken place farther east, along the border. The U.S. Army has flown AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to a forward operating base near the eastern town of Khost and begun ferrying infantry troops from the 101st Airborne Division into the area, according the U.S. and Afghan sources. Defense officials in Washington said as many as 1,000 U.S. troops ultimately could be involved in the operation; local officials in the Khost area said hundreds of U.S. or British troops had been airlifted to the mountains in recent days.

Military officials at Bagram have hotly disputed the reports, saying the 101st Airborne had not deployed to the border region. "Any reports of the 101st Airborne deployed are complete bunk," said Maj. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for coalition forces at Bagram.

He said the reports contained "some elements of truth," but did not elaborate.

Staff writer Thomas E. Ricks in Washington contributed to this report.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company
Bear in mind this is for American civvy consumption.

Most of them dont realise that anything exists beyond their borders.

Having spent time over in the good ol` US of A, the politicians have to show the public that they are the greatest.

If they said that British troops were doing the job that they had failed or couldn`t achieve then they would have a Vietnam scenario on there hands with public apathy and cries for the troops to be sent back.

The fact that they are looking to change their constitution so that they can award Medals of Honour to foreigners (namely the five Royal Marines who got 100 of their Rangers out of the sh1t last month) speaks volumes as to the real missions the bootnecks are playing.

Oh and by the way, I am not a bootneck, I think they are just showing that we can do a million dollar job for twentyfive quid again!

More power to their collective elbows 8)


War Hero
I work close to SPAMS and am forced to listen to their shite AFN radio.  My god it is propaganda non-stop, Goebels would have been proud!

All you ever hear is US Afghan success etc, never any mention of anybody else (including the Canadian soldiers they killed....).  Not once have I heard mention of the RM in Afghanistan or any other nation, they just focus on themselves.  *****ers.
PS - and the new is not military - it is re-broadcasted from the US.
Just check out El Presidente Bush - he never left the US before coming their President (well done to his brother, Governor of Florida, for handing him the White House).

As for AFN, I work in Spamsville South & have to endure their radio.  It is unintentionally hilarious, all the informative adverts being aimed at the lowest common denominator (ie Spams) and we all have a laugh at their 'Force Protection' attempts - huge pickup trucks, 'Army' t-shirts, travelling to/from work in uniform blah blah blah.  

Best news I heard in ages was that AFN had closed here due to an Anthrax scare.  TEXT

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