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Night Into Day

Finding the Enemy
Probably safe because there are kids around. There’s the Kite Runner kid.  Up in Mazar-i-Sharif, the kids fly kites by the hundreds.  Sometimes the enemy uses kites for signals. Growing up in the belly of the Taliban. He smiled and pedaled by. The soldiers don’t like running low on ammo during firefights, and so were carrying about three times more weight than I had. Nearly back to FOB Jackson.  We never got hit, but crossing through warm stench-water from the village was little consolation. Sangin sewerage. Other patrols had been in for more than an hour, but everyone waits until the last patrol arrives, just in case. Sweating and dusty, the soldiers wade into a chilly river running through camp, uniforms and all. The current flows at roughly 1.5fps, so the rope is there to help stay in the swimming hole. Afghan soldiers set up their toilet just down from the swimming hole. The Fob Jackson Launderette. Corporal Richard Tyrrell; Rifleman Stephan Glover.

In summary, the 24 July mission netted two Taliban killed by the Hellfire missile from the Reaper but that was just another day.  On the 25th, soldiers at Kajaki killed two Taliban.  On 26 July, here, just near FOB Jackson, Sniper Team Kris Griffith and Justin De Lange dropped another Taliban from 1,100 meters with the .338 rifle, and were themselves barely missed by a Taliban “sniper” who fired two shots, but remained concealed.  I was not involved in the firefight but was close enough to hear the firing and explosions.  During the same engagement, the mortars and 105mm howitzers fired 15 rounds each and killed three more, for a total of four Taliban killed.  The sniper kill on the morning of 26th was the fifth confirmed for the two sniper teams during this tour.  This morning, 27 July, while finishing off this report, the enemy fired an RPG at a British helicopter but missed.  Later at Kajaki, a British soldier was killed by an IED.  A U.S. Reaper came back on station in Sangin and was tracking armed targets that I saw on the monitor.  The kills would have been easy, but the British commander here, LTC Rob Thomson, and the Reaper crew, were looking for a good shot that would cause no civilian casualties, and eventually an Apache who fired 60 rounds from the 30mm.  Later in the day we received nine casualties in Sangin, and the A-10s came in and were firing their cannons, and as the dispatch is finished late afternoon on the 28th, a vibrant firefight is unfolding outside the perimeter.  An RPG just fired.

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