Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Manson: murder, mythology and mistaken identity

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Turkish adviser warns US forces may stay in Syria

Read more

THE DEBATE

Has Merkel still got it ?

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Paradisia, Björk & Robbie Williams

Read more

FOCUS

From ecological disaster to small miracle in Mauritania

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Ukraine's deputy PM on Kiev's EU ambitions, corruption and Russian influence

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

A journalist murdered: Europe's media freedom under threat

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Top psychiatrist: Trump's 'mental impairment' poses danger to world

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Hammond teases UK budget with homebuilding, driverless cars

Read more

REPORTERS

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

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

2017-11-17 Middle East

Exclusive: From Tehran to Najaf, a pilgrimage fraught with danger

It’s one of the most dangerous pilgrimages in the world. Every year, despite the deadly menace of the Islamic State group, millions of Shiites make a pilgrimage to southern Iraq,...

Read more

2017-11-09 Europe

Full circle: The second life of old clothes abroad

Our reporters investigated what happens to old clothes thrown out by Westerners. For several months, our team followed the trail of recycled clothes - from initial collection...

Read more

2017-11-03 Asia-pacific

Exclusive report: Burma in denial over Rohingya crisis

Burma’s northern Rakhine state is on lockdown. In recent weeks, violence has forced hundreds of thousands of minority Muslim Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. FRANCE 24’s regional...

Read more

2017-10-27 Middle East

Video: The story of a deadly air strike in Iraq’s Mosul

For more than three years, the US-led coalition has been using air strikes to help Iraqi troops retake territory from Islamic State group jihadists. But some are now tallying the...

Read more

2017-10-20 Asia-pacific

The Dictator's Games: A rare look inside Turkmenistan

As Turkmenistan hosted the Asian Games in the capital Ashgabat, our reporter managed to obtain a visa to cover the event. He brings us a rare look inside one of the world’s most...

Read more