A three-hour gun battle broke out after the attack yesterday, 30 miles east of the capital, in the Surobi district, continuing sporadically overnight and picking up this morning, when the Nato soldiers were killed, Afghan military officials said today. A further 21 were injured.
One Afghan source claimed four of the soldiers had been kidnapped by the insurgents and killed.
French reinforcements in armoured vehicles joined the battle today, while other troops stopped civilian traffic from entering the area. Witnesses reported helicopters flying overhead.
The deaths of the men, from the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, represent the biggest single loss of life for the French in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of 2001 ousted the Taliban regime. Before yesterday’s attack, the total French death toll was 14.
At April’s Nato summit in Bucharest, Sarkozy pledged a further 700 soldiers to Afghanistan, and their arrival by the end of this month will take the French contingent, based mainly in Kapissa province, north-east of Kabul, to 2,600. " Guardian
"8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment." These are among the best the French have. "Infanterie de la Marine," the descendants of the old "Troupes Coloniales."
It appears to have been a big and prolonged fight. "Sarko, l’Americain" is going to visit the troops. Good idea. Perhaps we should get him to take over the whole Afghanistan "show" and the Americans can then support the French. Seriously, the French armed forces are very nearly the only non-US armed forces in the world with a real expeditionary capability in terms of logistics and power projection.
At the same time that this was happening a hundred or so jihadis attacked a US base in the city of Khowst. They had six candidate "shuhada" (suicide martyrs) with them who blew themselves up as appropriate. The attack failed to overrun the post, but if they keep trying…. This is beginning to sound like re-runs of the 1930s "Gunga Din" movie. Yes. I know "Kali," and all that.
Afghanistan badly needs reinforcements. Badly. Afghanistan badly needs a serious infrastructure and economic developement program. Badly. No more prattling about "freedom" in the CPA tradition.
Get on with it. pl