Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

25 years of independence in Eritrea : Thousands continue to flee the repressive regime

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Petrol shortages in France and free hugs in Britain

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Petrol shortages in France and #HugABrit

Read more

THE DEBATE

Obama in Vietnam: Just how close can Washington and Hanoi become? (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Fuel on the fire: French unions block refineries to protest labour reform (part 2)

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Judith Owen, Eric Clapton and Ariana Grande

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Christian NGO brings Syrian refugees to Italy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Near miss' for Austria and the EU

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

#hugabrit

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

2016-05-20 El Salvador

El Salvador held hostage by gangs

Last year in El Salvador, more than one person in every 1,000 was killed, a figure more typical of a country at war. The vast majority of these victims are young men, members of...

Read more

2016-05-13 Eritrea

Video: A visa for Eritrea, the 'African North Korea'

Eritrea, a small nation on the Horn of Africa, is one of the most isolated countries in the world. It is also one of the most secretive, and has been duly nicknamed the “African...

Read more

2016-05-04 Israel

Palestinian ‘knife intifada’ reflects a generation's despair

For the past seven months, Israelis have faced an unprecedented wave of violence: not a real “intifada”, but a series of almost daily "lone wolf" knife attacks. These are not...

Read more

2016-04-28 USA

The vicious cycle of student debt in the US

Student debt in the United States now stands at over a trillion dollars. And it’s going up, to the tune of 2,700 dollars per second. FRANCE 24 reporters Philip Crowther and...

Read more

2016-04-22 Syria

Exclusive: Interethnic coalition takes on the IS group in Syria

FRANCE 24 brings you a rare documentary filmed inside Syria. Our reporters gained exclusive access to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab militias, as...

Read more