Commandos Battle Insurgents in Badghis

[Story by Corporal Kyle McNally]

BADGHIS PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan commandos from the 9th Commando Kandak, assisted by coalition special operations forces, were attacked by insurgents during a routine presence patrol near Sakharai village, Murghab district, March 6.

The commando-led force was providing security on the village outskirts when approximately two insurgents opened fire on them with a medium machine gun from a remote position in the mountains.

After positively identifying the attackers as insurgents, the commando patrol leader made the decision to respond. Coalition aircraft then engaged them with a precision-guided munition.

Shortly after, six more insurgents returned to the same position to attempt to re-engage the commando force. Coalition aircraft once again engaged with precision-guided munitions, and killed the remaining six insurgents.

The commandos, along with coalition SOF, took extreme precautions when neutralizing the attackers, ensuring that no civilians were harmed and no property damage resulted. The closest village structures were over 2,000 meters away from the insurgent fighting position.

The commando leaders met with Sakharai village leaders after the incident to inform them of the situation and discuss options for further assistance. During the shura, village elders confirmed that no villagers had been killed by coalition forces.

However, a Taliban spokesman contacted Badghis provincial governor Delbar Jan Almar shortly after the incident, claiming that three children and two women had been killed by the coalition aircraft. Murghab district governor Hashem Habibi, said that this information is verifiably false, and was designed by insurgents to discredit the positive gains of the Afghan government.

Murghab district chief of police Israil Ibrahim Khan said that insurgents are simply attempting to strike fear into the people of Murghab through rumors.

“Insurgents have demonstrated a tendency to make audacious claims of civilian casualties,” said Maj. Ryan Bolling, a spokesman for Special Operations Task Force – West. “They are resorting to increasingly desperate tactics in an attempt to win favor with a population that no longer wants to support them.”

According to a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan spokesman, the 9th Commando Kandak and its coalition SOF partners are resolved to protecting local communities in the Badghis province from insurgent attempts to gain ground through violence, fear and intimidation of the Afghan people.

[News story via DVIDS.]


Memories from the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan.

A few months ago I was in Tajikistan heading up into the Pamir Mountains on my bike trip from London to China. After crossing the first mountain pass, just after a small town called Jelondi, I collapsed in a heap at the side of the road. My head was pounding and I was suddenly far too weak to continue by bicycle. I didn’t realise at this point but I was suffering from early stages of altitude sickness and pulmonary edema. Within an hour I had been picked up by a couple of locals who kindly drove me to the next town, Alichur. In a small town of about 1000 people, in one of the least travelled regions in the world word quickly spread and I was soon met by two western doctors, one from Poland and the other from Australia. Between the two of them they had enough knowledge and drugs to take care of me in this village. After a rough night, I stayed for 3 days to regain my strength before continuing my journey through the Pamir and into Kyrgyzstan. Besides the initial shock of collapsing at the side of the road it was a nice break from cycling and a great opportunity to mingle with the locals and take some photos. 


Chinese trucks towards one-way trade, empty return. Chinese truckers stop in Murghab to fill custom documents, sleep alongside the road to continue direction Khorog or Dushanbe. Globalization and asymmetry.

Rampants 24 heures sur 24, le rythme s’accélère (croise en 8 heures de trajet 36 60 tonnes et 30 40 tonnes). Une présence qui ne dépasse que peu le périmètre de la M41 et s’arrète à Khorog ou Dushanbe pour se répandre sur les marchés. Sémiophores en mouvement.

Lastwagen, Zeichnen und Gewicht. Bewegungen auf dem “Dach der Welt”, dies ist eine Form der große Furcht: “China dehnt sich aus”?

Welcher Art von Austausch?