CHANNEL4 DISPATCHES: FIGHTING THE TALIBAN 3 OF 3
CHANNEL4 NEWS PRESENTS DISPATCHES: FIGHTING THE TALIBAN 3 OF 3
The week I spent with the British soldiers in Garmser felt like a lifetime. But it was only another week in a journey across Afghanistan that lasted five long, intense and occasionally terrifying months. Three of those months were spent mostly undercover with the Taliban, and the rest were spent under fire with the British and Americans. And one final week was spent high up in the mountains, on the border with Pakistan.
To understand the war in Afghanistan, and how America and Britain could soon be facing defeat and disaster in a country they once wrote off as a victory and a success, you have to understand how it all began. And that's why I walked deep into the mountains to meet fighters associated with al-Qaeda, in the hope that they could tell me about their strategy, and of course about the architect of this war: Osama bin Laden.
The American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 also launched the West's global War on Terror. It was a measured response to 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in America's history, and received almost unanimous support at the United Nations. The Taliban regime was quickly overthrown and al-Qaeda forces were routed in the mountains of Tora Bora. And then the War on Terror moved on, and the preparations for the invasion of Iraq began.
But the terrorists directly responsible for 9/11, and the Taliban leaders that harboured them, did not move on. They stayed put, or slipped across the border to Pakistan. And though it beggars belief, they were allowed the freedom and time to re-group, re-arm and begin planning the next stages of their global war on the West.
by Sean Langan