Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gaza: online reactions

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rise of the Robots

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2011-11-18

EXCLUSIVE: With the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, last days in enemy territory

After ten years at war, the United States has begun to pull its troops out of Afghanistan. In Helmand province, one of the most dangerous parts of the country, our reporters embedded with the very first unit to pull out: the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. Codename: Darkside.

“OK, you’re going to get what you want: we’re going to patrol up north tomorrow. We’ll probably get shot at.” That’s Lieutenant Joseph Hanson talking, a 24 year-old officer of the U.S. Marine Corps. He has 40 Marines under his command and a small scar on his chest where he was hit by a bullet last June, on his birthday.

The promise of getting shot at has us pretty pumped up. Sylvain Rousseau and I have been embedded with the 3rd battalion, 4th Marines for ten days and we haven’t seen a single round fired. We’re here to cover the beginning of the American pullout from Afghanistan, so fighting is not really the focus of our report, but if truth be told, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of the world’s best fighting forces in action. Plus, it’s their job to protect me in case of attack, so I’m not particularly worried about my security. 

But in the end…no one got shot at. That day Hanson’s team had a lot of “ass”, Marine-talk for firepower. Attack helicopters, heavy machine guns and an extra squad of soldiers, just in case. So the Taliban fighters who had been spotted coming into the village decided not to pick a fight that morning. 

The Marines are not allowed to search houses here without being invited in by locals… so they were left with little choice but to return to base. And for most of the men, the walk back that day felt different: it was their very last patrol in Afghanistan, at the end of a 7-month deployment.

The 3rd battalion, 4th Marines is the very first American unit to pull out of Afghanistan. Our report tells the story of their last days in enemy territory. 

By Sylvain ROUSSEAU , Cyril VANIER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-07-18 Hong Kong

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

In 1997 Hong Kong was proud to re-establish its Chinese identity after more than 150 years under British colonisation. But the atmosphere has changed and Hong Kong is now in open...

Read more

2014-07-11 Pakistan

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

In the wake of the 9/11 terror attack, questions have been asked about the tactics used in former US president George W. Bush's "War on Terror". Extraordinary rendition saw many...

Read more

2014-07-04 Italy

Italy: Toxic Naples

Industrial sludge, all kinds of garbage and even nuclear waste... For years, organised crime dumped millions of tons of toxic waste on the outskirts of Naples. This contamination...

Read more

2014-06-27 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Old wounds reopened in Belfast

Northern Ireland’s Good Friday agreement, signed in April 1998, put an end to thirty years of conflict between Nationalists and Republicans. Since its signature, traditional...

Read more

2014-06-20 refugees

Syria’s Armenians: Fleeing war for new hardship in their ancestral land

With the war, thousands of Armenians who have lived in Syria for several generations, mainly in Aleppo, have sought refuge in Armenia. But for many of them, returning to the land...

Read more