Source Pravda.Ru

British marines in Afghanistan. Iraq next on their list

Britain’s lion has awakened from its long sleep. British troops are taking part in a large-scale military operation in Afghanistan for the first time since the war between Great Britain and Argentina for the Falkland Islands. The operation started several days ago, but military officials have announced it only today.

The operation is aimed at clearing the mountainous valley of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, where they are believed to be taking shelter. Troops from Commando Group 45 are taking part in the operation code-named "Operation Ptarmigan." Teams of US special forces and some groups from the regular Afghan army are taking part in the operation beside the British forces. Spokesman for the British Marines, Col. Paul Harradine, told reporters that “allied soldiers are in the area earlier known as a main base for the Taliban and Al Qaeda.”

Preperation for the operation was kept secret: British marines arrived to Afghanistan in small groups (up to 45 people) for the several past weeks. The operation was also designed to assist in cooperation between the allied troops in hostilities. It is an open secret that Operation Anaconda failed because no single command had been introduced over the operation, which also allowed the enemy force to escape.

The USA understands perfectly well that the Afghanistan blitzkrieg was not a success. No large-scale operations similar to Anaconda and Harpoon will be held in the future. Well-equipped mobile groups will scour the area in search of guerrilla shelters. British troops have been idle for a long period already, and they need more military experience. Moreover, a war with Iraq is coming soon, and British troops will take part in it all the same.

Commander of the British Mariners in Afghanistan, Brigade General Roger Lan , said: “When we arrived in Afghanistan, we realized the chase after Al Qaeda and Taliban was just being launched. We promised to stay together with the USA and other coalition allies until the very end of the war.”

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Photo from BBC archives

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/04/16/39831.html

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