Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Uruguay: freed Guantanamo detainees try to adjust to normal life

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

2014-12-26 Syria

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

This year, France 24 brought you major reports from around the world. Don't miss our highlights from 2014: from the partition of Ukraine to the battle against Ebola in Liberia,...

Read more

2014-12-19 Argentina

Argentina: The Kirchner era

The woman dubbed by some the new Eva Perón is a divisive figure. Cristina Kirchner succeeded her husband, Nestor, as president of Argentina back in 2007. A year ahead of...

Read more

2014-02-14 Cameroon

Central African Republic and the 'convoy of hope'

Despite the presence of French troops and an African Union-led peacekeeping force, the situation in the Central African Republic remains extremely volatile. Clashes between the...

Read more

2014-12-12 China

China: An 'Africatown' in Guangzhou

With twelve million inhabitants, Guangzhou, in southern China, is the third largest city after Shanghai and Beijing. Like the rest of globalised China, it attracts people from...

Read more

2014-12-05 France

Do French Jews have reason to fear?

"For the first time in 70 years, France has become a country of Jewish emigration". This is how the Chairman of France’s Central Consistory, Joël Mergui, gloomily sums up the...

Read more