Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bye bye Kabul: the story of the French disengagement

REPORT to KABUL | The last flight of French fighting forces left Kabul. It will take six months to repatriate all 1200 vehicles and containers as much of the French army.

In order. But no battle disengagement, according the semantic precision of the military.

Do not tell them that the coalition of forty-seven NATO countries will never overcome these insurgents of all stripes beard. International jihadists, Taliban local interests and objectives fuzzy variables, Mujahideen hardened by a life of war, here are the masters of the majestic mountains and rocky valleys.

" The insurgents have still picked up well. The average age of Taliban commanders has dropped from 31 to 27 years , "says an officer, without being able to check the reliability of the statistical deadly. And interest because it is better to go to the old to negotiate rather than young dogs crazy. It adds a slightly bitter observation: " It was the right time to go. For them and for us. Before the Afghans see us as enemy aliens, as the occupier. "

The French leave (pictured, a convoy carrying VAB to the storage area of Kabul airport) and the future of Afghanistan remains unresolved. " The region was occupied by the French (district of Surobi and Kapisa) is now led by the Afghan National Army (ANA). And the insurgents have not taken the hand. This is evidence of their effectiveness , "says Colonel Antonelli, head of the training mission Epidote.

Further down in ranks, we find less convinced. " The Afghan soldiers are tough but the evil I do not give them five years before getting to defend Kabul , "said Master Corporal Loïc original douaisienne. Camp Warehouse, east of Kabul, where are grouped the ultimate French forces, "the leader" of poker or karaoke evenings of the 1st company of the 35th Infantry Regiment Belfort would have stayed a few more months. For compensation multiplied by more than two according to rank and marital status, and not subject to income tax ...

To the exit from the death of Osama bin Laden

But we must return one day. Eleven years after the first steps of special forces or agents of the DGSE on Afghan soil. War must have a meaning. This is the output from the death of bin Laden in May 2011.
The French army has gained a technological leap (the lattice to surveillance drone) and hardening in a country hostile group. She lost 88 men. It is not. This is huge.

In this bright and glossy Sunday in December on the plateau of Kabul (1800 m), Warrant Officer Denis, of the 16th Infantry Battalion of Bitche, thirty-two years in the army in counter is not angry to return home with two hundred comrades Fire Task Force La Fayette. They just spent seven months in Kapisa. They closed the forward base of Tagab September 30, the Nijrab November 25. The guys will be able to steel battalion blow.

" The pressure Tagab was permanent. But the man gets used to everything. As the camp was on a slope, there were three tracks discovered that avoided taking. It is still made ​​"ICT-er" several times , "says the sergeant at the foot of the A340 of Air Force departure. An ICT in NATO jargon, it is a snap (French acronym for Troops in Contact ).

A professional army does not fight an army insensitive. If the closure of the forward bases have generally passed without incident, the sergeant Denis remembers the departure of Tagab: " At the end of the village, a pilot VAB (armored vehicle from the front) has seen him right a rocket. He said : "It is for me. Just when we leave." Fortunately, it was at the end of the race and its sting incandescent collided at the bottom of the box. A little higher and it was good. "

The driver needed to speak, made ​​of chargepar shrinks. The post-traumatic syndrome can be an enemy soldier inside the back of OPEX (external operation). The decompression chamber to Paphos in Cyprus has been created for it. Three days to relax in a comfortable hotel - " five stars here, two star Palavas "- to regain its footing with normal life -" it's very funny, a shower and toilet in the room! "- to speak group with experts ...

This is where we discovered the silent suffering of men who were inside the VAB to Tagab. Unlike the pilot, they had not seen the rocket fall on their vehicle. They slept in more ...
" When we closed Nijrab was a sort of pre-sas after Tagab pleasant Warrant Officer Denis. Warehouse camp in Kabul, it was almost the holidays. Now Paphos. According to those who have already passed, it is a good thing. It allows to decompress, to ask before returning to the family. "Normal life.
During this time in Kabul, meticulous repatriation of equipment continues. Intensely. With two or three jumbo Antonov day by rushing into their mouths gyms flying the VAB VBCI, Caesar cannons, helicopters ... Specialists Air Detachment Kabul airport feel in time: half of 1200 vehicles and containers that leave much to France. In order.


Attacks of September 11, 2001: Nearly 3,000 victims.
October 7, 2001: start of Operation Enduring Freedom, the pursuit of Osama bin Laden.
20 December 2001: beginning of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO command in 2003.
October 9, 2004: the first democratic presidential election in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai is elected.
May 2, 2011: Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda was killed by U.S. commandos in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Yankees 4 DEAD
David Poulain (Halluin) Corporal 1st RPIMA, killed by hostile fire in the area of ​​Helmand Bruno Fauquembergue (Lille), Chief Warrant Officer CFT in Kabul, Lionel Knight (St-Pol-sur-Mer ), Corporal of the 35th RI, killed in Tagab in an accident with his weapon Denis Estin (Douai), the 93rd Chief Warrant Officer RAM, killed by a shot Gwan "Green on blue."

The number of soldiers suffering psychological problems related to their mission in Afghanistan, or 6-7% of staff, according to the Department of Health armies. The U.S. military estimates that figure to nearly 20%.

At the end of the disengagement, there will only be 500 French soldiers in mid-2013, the command of the Kabul airport, hospital medical-surgical Role 3, Epidote and training in various ISAF HQ.

Afghans who worked with the French army (including interpreters) and are "direct threat" to their country will be welcomed in France (case by case study of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

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