Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

'European countries should do more to resettle refugees'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

UN to Julian Assange's rescue? (Part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Syria: Assad on the offensive while peace talks stall (Part 2)

Read more

#TECH 24

ARCHAEOLOGY 3.0

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Jihadists attack U.N. base in Mali

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Assange #ArbitrarilyDetained

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Migrant crisis: Is Calais the dead end on the migrant trail?

Read more

FOCUS

Transgender children: Embracing the transition process

Read more

ENCORE!

Phil Collins remastered

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

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

2016-02-05 Ivory Coast

Video: Welcome aboard the West African Express

A colonial-era dream may become a reality. Bankrolled by French industrialist Vincent Bolloré, the €2.5 billion- and 3,000-kilometre-long rail network is set to cover five...

Read more

2016-01-29 Venezuela

Is Chavism on its way out in Venezuela?

Just three years after the death of iconic Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, his successor Nicolas Maduro is floundering. Not only is the country mired in a crippling economic...

Read more

2016-01-22 Tajikistan

Tajikistan cracks down on beards and full veils

In Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan, authorities have declared war on radical Islam and are trying to root out potential terrorists in the country.

Read more

2016-01-14 South Africa

Environmental inequality persists in South Africa

In South Africa, inequalities remain despite the end of apartheid, including on the environmental front. The poorest populations live in the most polluted areas and things are...

Read more

2016-01-08 Islamic State (IS) group

The secret lives of former French jihadists

FRANCE 24 brings you a special documentary one year after the January 2015 terror attacks in France. For nine months, investigative journalist Clarisse Feletin sought an answer...

Read more