BBC Panorama: The Battle for Bomb Alley

by Joshua Foust on 2/2/2011 · 7 comments

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Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Alex Strick van Linschoten February 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm

No comment needed.

Devil Dawg Dawson February 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm

The Marines are so bad ass.

Very unlike Restrepo, where you have Army kids crying and scared.

I think “Raymond Davies” in Pakistan now was a former Marine.

steve February 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm

that was good reporting. now why can’t anderson cooper do that?

M Shannon February 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Sangin is the best example in Afghanistan of military institutional goals trumping strategic commonsense.

The Brits went to Helmand so they could have their own province (and the command & staff that went with it). Stopping opium cultivation helped sell the mission to the Brit public. The problem was that the British Army wasn’t up to the task and needed bailing out. Cue the USMC which very much wanted it’s own province (now upgraded to it’s own Regional Command). The Brits had enough of Sangin and the constant casualties were endangering the entire mission. So the Marines took over Sangin and other northern districts to allow the Brits to escape to central Helmand. They scrapped the Brit platoon house concept and so far are on track this year to take about twice as many casualties as the British.

No one I have talked to or read has made a case for the importance of Sangin apart from saving face for the British or proving the Marines can succeed. No one can explain what exactly we hope to achieve with the $30 billion the campaign in Helmand will cost this year alone.

RScott February 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

And the various counter-narcotics programs have been so off and on, misdirected, unfocused on the wrong things at the wrong times have resulted in a gradual (sometimes fast) increase in cultivation in central Helmand where most of it is cultivated on the biggest irrigation system in the country which was mostly developed with our funding 1946-79…a region, until recently, was perhaps the most pro-American region in the country. This past year there was a reduction in the area resulting from a plant disease. And we continue to refuse to do the obvious to address some of the key issues…poppy/corruption.

dishonesty? February 4, 2011 at 3:39 am
Scott February 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Bring em home.

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