Eight days ago, British Marines started another offensive in Afghanistan designed to “capture or liquidate” al-Qaeda militants hiding in the mountains. The commandos have not yet established any contact with the enemy.
General Roger Lane from the Bagram aviation base near Kabul confirmed that a risky operation code-named "Snipe" is being held in southeastern Afghanistan, near the town of Khost.
“The operation is designed to liquidate al-Qaeda, a so-called cancerous growth, from the very heart of Afghanistan," the general told BBC. General Lane says that, although "Operation Snipe" is being held on unfamiliar territories, the spirit of soldiers is unusually high. “With the spirit and weapons we have, our brave people are ready to face any danger.”
In fact, as news agencies report, British marines are experiencing some difficulties in physical and moral aspects. Mountainous areas are quite unusual for British soldiers to fight, and the soldiers are not well trained for offensive operations in the mountains. Dysentery and the effect of the mountainous climate on the soldiers' health cause as much harm as bin Laden himself. And as for the soldiers’ moral, it is experiencing a negative effect due to the fact that not a single guerrilla has yet been found.
Indeed, British marines have had no success so far to boast of: over 400 British marines together with American and Afghan troops took part in an operation in Afghan mountainous valleys in April. No al-Qaeda fighters were found then, but the allies destroyed al-Qaeda bunkers and a cave complex in southeastern Afghanistan. Wireless stations, documents, and maps were obtained during the operation. They are being scanned now for important information.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/06/40705.html