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Ce qui se passe en Afghanistan est une véritable guerre, peut-être le plus violent des affrontements en cours aujourd’hui. Le même sentiment revient chez tous les militaires engagés dans les combats : la violence extraordinaire de ces combats. En quelques mois, l’Afghanistan s’est transformé au point de devenir la plus grave de toutes les crises militaires auxquelles l’Ouest est confronté.
Un article du Times d’aujourd’hui fournit un reportage auprès des forces canadiennes engagées dans la bataille.
«“I don’t think a lot of my guys thought they would be in an operation of this scale,” said Major Mike Wright, 35, the company commander of A company, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). (…)
»“There is a trench system 50 meters away from us by the white school. In the period of the last month eight Canadians have been killed in that area,” said Major Wright.
»The area was well suited to the defenders even before the trenches were dug.
»Captain Max Shields, 27, with the 22nd Regiment, said: “It is outstanding terrain to defend. There is very heavy vegetation, ditches, canals and mud buildings.”
»The fields, which provide the Taleban with a ready supply of melons, pomegranate and marijuana, also provide ideal cover. The marijuana bushes grow up to six feet high and provide ideal camouflage. To make matters worse the mud-walled compounds are impenetrable to bullets; only bombs dropped from the air can penetrate them. Over the past two weeks thousands of pounds of bombs have been dropped from the air, destroyed houses are scattered on either side of the mud tracks. The Taleban may have retreated from the villages, but they are not beaten. As we walked in the searing heat from compound to dusty compound there were no bodies and no bloodstains — certainly no evidence of the 600 rebels Nato claimed to have killed. The Canadian soldiers insisted that the Taleban buried their dead as soon as they fell.
»There was also no sign of civilian life, only the odd discarded mattress and a child’s shoe. Nato leaflets dropped from the air advising locals to leave for their safety was followed by hundreds of families.
»Abdul Samat 35, a refugee who fled the area, said that he had no choice but to abandon his home and save his children.
»“I blame ourselves; how criminal have we been before God to deserve this?,” he asked. “First the Taleban forced their way into our houses and then the coalition bomb us.”
»During the Soviet invasion the area of Pashmul was never conquered, despite the the Russians pouring thousands of troops, from some of their best regiments, into the area surrounding Pashmul. “This is an eye-opener,” said Captain Jordan Schaub, 26, the second in command of Alpha company, PPCLI. “You train for this but we didn’t expect such a tempo. Seeing is believing.”
»Corporal Miguel Dulac, 22, said: “I speak to a lot of American soldiers and they say this is worse than Iraq. Here they stay and fight.”»
Mis en ligne le 14 septembre 2006 à 08H21