Category Sangin

The devil gets his playground back

The British Army’s forward operating base at Wishtan — known as the Devil’s Playground because of the high number of casualties suffered there — is one of those abandoned by US marines. At the height of the Taliban’s onslaught, the British saw a man killed or wounded on one in every three patrols into the […]

US humbled in bloody Sangin

The Sunday Times The platoon was only 200 yards from its base when Lieutenant Robert Kelly, the 29-year-old son of a US Marine Corps general, hauled himself out of an irrigation ditch and on to a Taliban mine buried in the mud bank. The force of the blast hurled him back into the ditch, slicing […]

Letter written by a severely wounded British soldier – Lt Alex Horsfall

Ha ha ha. Ladies and gentlemen, I am writing to you from Selly Oak hospital after a somewhat surreal couple of weeks where some chap with an evil-looking beard killed five of my fellow riflemen and injured another four. I would like to quickly let you into the picture, set the story straight (although I […]

His last lonely walk

The Sunday Times Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid sounded uncharacteristically strained as his tearful words crackled over the telephone line from Afghanistan. Exhausted after another gruelling four-day operation defusing bombs in one of Helmand’s most dangerous districts, he told his wife, Christina: “I’m hanging out, hun. Can you come and get me, babe?” The next day […]

Carnage in the Devil’s Playground

The Sunday Times, Wishtan, Sangin THE first explosion that tore through the alleyway flung an 18-year-old soldier into the air, killing him instantly. As the dust cleared, troops racing towards the body of Private Johnathon Young came to an abrupt halt: one improvised explosive device (IED) after another lay in their path. It was Sergeant […]

Taliban ‘daisy chain’ kingpin captured in Afghanistan dawn raid

The Sunday Times The two point men failed to spot the booby trap hidden beneath the water as they waded along an irrigation canal. Then the shouting started. “Get the f*** back now. We’ve gone over a tripwire,” bellowed Sergeant Lee Slater, the 17-stone section commander as he turned and splashed back towards the rest […]

Blood brothers scarred by war

The Sunday Times ‘Dad, I’m sorry,” were my brother’s first intelligible words, whispered through swollen lips and an oxygen mask. Dad leant in close and told his son how proud he was of him. For three days we had hovered around Jim’s bedside in Birmingham’s Selly Oak hospital — as he lay doped up on […]