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Subject: 10 French Paratroopers killed in Afghanistan
DragonReborn    8/20/2008 4:23:45 PM
Can anyone shed any more light on what the hell went wrong here?? This happend near Kabul?!? How did this ambush come about? Are any rumours about subsequent friendly fire from allied jets true? IS there a link to the fact that over all command of the area had just been handed over to France. Was there a communications blunder between the US and France, did the French have less Intel than previously under the US, e.g. UAV and Air cover etc? See "" "Ironically the ill-fated Isaf reconnaissance mission in the rocky Sarobi district, 50km (31 miles) east of Kabul, which saw 10 French soldiers killed and 21 others wounded was not led by the US. The command of the area had just been handed over - to France. "
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frenchboy       8/20/2008 7:03:13 PM

The ambush took place about 50 Km away from Kabul.

The talibans showed they really had initiative, and they were perfectly informed, which is quite worrying.

This French led scouting operation showed real lacks in terms of recon (no scouting support from Helos or Drones).

Witnesses of friendly fires are controversed in France. Some witnesses talk about huge RPG shots from the talebans side instead of friendly bombings. But this has to be debriefed.

It also appears that the combat section trapped by the talebans ran quicly out of ammos. It took about four hours under heavy fire before support troops reach them.

A first Air support operation by two US jets would have aborted (proximity of Franch Troops with the Talebans ?). But some friendly fires might have come from the ANA backing the French.

Some TV reports talk again of the lack of equipment (Support Weapons, Helos, Body Armours, VAB armored vehicle totally outdated).
The US held the sector not so long ago. What was their appreciation of the situation there ?
This sad day really rises questions. Our Paras fought bravely, but we had no initiative, poor intel, poor ammo supply and support, poor equipment.
To conclude, that was a shit day, and a lot of IF has to be solved out.
As a Frenchman, I really think  that the burden of the fight has to be shared in A Stan. BUT I would appreciate we send our guys with the propper means to fight. A more aggressive posture might be needed to regain initiative, and this is where we'll know iif France has the will to fight.
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smitty237    Here we go again   8/20/2008 7:16:41 PM
When I first heard about this I wondered if people were somehow going to make this our (America's) fault.  This post is an indication that this buzz has already started.  I'm sure if this were a friendly fire incident the French press would already be blowing up and the French would be screaming, "How can this happen?"  Along with the usual accompanying American bashing comments.  If it's not a friendly fire incident, then it sounds like they might be critical that we didn't provide air support fast enough,  or maybe the lines of communication were screwed up, which would probably make it at least partially our fault. 
Of course it is possible that the US military may bear some of the responsibility for this terrible tragedy, but for some reason the very last consideration that most people seem to want to consider is that sometimes the enemy is lucky or just good.  We all know that the Taliban are largly inept against a modern military force such as the US or France, but this is still their country and they know the terrain better than we do.  Even a poorly equipped and trained group of bandits can plan and execute an ambush against a superior force given the right terrain and conditions.  This kind of thing has happened to US forces as well, and while I think it is a good idea to investigate such incidents to see if we can prevent them in the future, I think it is a mistake to always assume that whenever the enemy bloodies our noses that someone is to blame or we must have done something wrong.  This is war, and every once in a while the enemy will win a battle. 
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RockyMTNClimber    Bless them for their sacrifice....   8/20/2008 7:38:51 PM
....and prayers to their families. Greatest condolences to these brave men. May their brothers in arms avenge them ten times over and may the allies finish the job of killing the taliban in Afghanistan (or wherever they hide), so their loss is not in vain.
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frenchboy       8/20/2008 8:41:29 PM



My feeling is that the ennemy has just been good yesterday. It was not only their day of luck. This was a considerably strong and supported taliban force. And well informed.
The talibans have been good in this particular operation, and this aspect has to be a lesson for every Nato army present on the Afghan soil.

I would not really consider the talibans as poorly trained and equipped fighters. Remember that the absence of means make people smart. And frorm what we see now, fighting these guys is not easy nor cost effective. Are we free to move in this country ?

Do we have the population on our side ?

(Do we have our population on our side ?) is another debate.
This guys would be unable to outperform a modern army ? They have time, and they need almost nothing to survive. They are perfect to hold mountains.

I think a lot of people just simply forget that these guys have a perfect use of the little equipment they have, and they are not afraid to die, for whatever is their cause.

What happened yesterday shall wake us up.
As far as the air support, well, maybe it is a good idea France trains more with the US.
And we cannot spend our time complaining on the absence of support of the USA if we are not able to provide our troops with more than two helos and 6 Jet  fighters to support our 3000 troops.
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smitty237       8/22/2008 11:08:48 AM
French Boy,
My post above was not directed at you at all.  Your post is up before mine, but I did  not see it until after I posted. 
As is posted elsewhere on this site, Afghanistan is warrior society and gun culture, and while that can certainly be helpful in the battlefield, it is not the same as training.  The terrain in Afghanistan is ideal for ambushing and sniping, both skills that are central to your typical Afghan warrior.  The key for the American military is to draw out the Taliban and force them to either stand and fight (which is something they are ill-equipped for) or run away (so we can catch them in the open and kill them that way).  Another report on SP stated that NATO forces were able to track down the Taliban that ambushed the French and kill many of them.  I don't think that the Taliban that ambushed the French paratroopers were in any way better than the French.  Man for man the French are without a doubt far superior to the Taliban.  In this instance the French found themselves in a bad situation, and the Taliban were able to take of advantage of it and inflict some casualties at the expense of the French.
It is important to keep things in perspective here.  The loss of ten brave men is a tragedy, but it shouldn't even register more than a mention in French military history, especially when compared to French losses in Mexico, Verdun, Algeria, or Indochina.  The true measure of this incident is the effect that it will have on the Gallic will.  If there is an enormous outcry in France that results in the government withdrawing its military in Afghanistan, then the Taliban have achieved a political, rather than military, victory in Afghanistan over NATO and the French.  My hope is that once the French stop grieving they will steel their resolve and adopt a more aggressive stance toward the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Aghanistan.  The Islamic terrorists already know they can win this way----it was a smashing success in Spain.  I only hope that the French won't go this way and will increase her commitment to beating the Taliban. 
My thoughts go out to the grieving families of the fallen solidiers and their comrades. 
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