RealNews

Taliban spies keep strong grip on south

James Astill meets the elite US forces on patrol in Gereshk trying to stem the rising tide of bloody attacks. Viewed through a heat-seeking telescope, three blurry silver spots pierce the darkness outside Gereshk in southern Afghanistan, creeping across the desert like slow-motion tracer fire. On a high watchtower outside the town an American sentry huddles into the black fleece jacket and thick beard that US special forces uniformly wear in Afghanistan. “Probably just shepherds, but, hell, you never know,” he murmured. “We can’t even tell who’s the enemy in daylight.” The silvery spots move on, away from the tiny military base, and enter Gereshk, a sandy cluster of war-wrecked warehouses and whitewashed mosques three miles to the east. The US base’s 36 elite Green Berets responsible for hunting the Taliban and al-Qaida across the vast province of Helmand are sometimes less fortunate. Not that their black-bearded commander, Captain Ed Croot, would admit it. Full Story

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