Monday, September 03, 2007

Fighting Zulus in Afghanistan

The defiant British stand against the Zulu Nation at Rorke's Drift came to my mind when I read of this little reported incident concerning the UK's Pathfinder Platoon in the Afghan town of Musa Qala in 2006:

The Pathfinders first mission was a five day deployment on a pursuit of Taliban militants across this rugged landscape. The hunt culminated in their first engagement with the Taliban since 3,300 British troops arrived in Helmand province.
On May 17, they received a distress call from a local Afghan police force consisting of 100 in the town of Musa Qala who had been cornered by a much greater force of Taliban fighters.
By May 19, the Pathfinders joined the policemen in a counterattack in Taliban held territory. From there, a US B-1 Lancer bomber and A-10's were directed by PF forward air controllers onto Taliban positions. They were then supplemented by French Super Etendards from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean.
The men then set out on a four-day mission to a town in the north of Helmand province in Afghanistan ended up spending 52 days under siege by the Taliban. 25 men, who have been first into several Taliban-held areas during the British deployment in southern Afghanistan, came under such ferocious attack that they were forced to stay in Musa Qala fighting almost daily battles.
The group was supposed to be reinforced by a company of 120 paratroops but they had to be diverted to the town of Sangin when they came under heavy assault by Taliban insurgents.
The platoon were finally replaced in Musa Qala when 500 British troops, in a mission codenamed Operation Snakebite — the largest so far in Helmand — broke through Taliban lines.

Thanks to Bill Roggio for pointing this out.