Tag Archives: Wishtan

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 […]

Blood, bombs and boys’ talk

The Sunday Times Magazine The blast tore through Sapper Matthew Weston’s body as he searched the mud compound for mines. The rifle he was carrying sliced off his hand, leaving it dangling by a thread of skin. Both his legs were blown off and he could feel the blood gushing from his two remaining stumps […]

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 […]

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 […]

Helicopter shortage has troops at mercy of Taliban

The Sunday Times Five British troops killed in Afghanistan on Friday were caught in a cruel trap, retreating from one blast only to become the targets of a second, even more lethal explosion. At 5am, a 30-man platoon was making its way along an alley in Wishtan, one of the most dangerous parts of the […]