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The Battle for Bomb Alley - join the debate

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Eamonn Walsh | 15:16 UK time, Monday, 31 January 2011

For four years, thousands of British servicemen fought with the Taliban for the district of Sangin - the most violent part of Afghanistan. The fighting cost 106 British lives, including Staff-Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who won the George Cross there.

Last year, the British withdrew - handing the area over to the US Marines. Ben Anderson, who was with the British forces in 2007, returns to see if the Americans are faring any better. His remarkable film follows Lima Company, a unit of the US Marines, as they dodge improvised bombs and struggle to reclaim the same territory the British previously occupied.

As the war enters its tenth year, with Sangin still far from secure, real questions remain as to what so many British men died there for.

We welcome your thoughts on the programme. Please use this forum to leave a comment.


  • Comment number 1.

    Leave your comment on the Battle for Bomb Alley on the Panorama forum.

  • Comment number 2.

    A no-nonsense Panorama of old.

    But it could have been 1966 in SE Asia watching an American officer justfying (or trying) the destruction of a village in order to save it.

    Ludicrous enough in Vietnam. Heaven knows what the effect of such behaviour is going to mean or what it is meant to achieve. The USMC is once again fighting an unwinnable war against an invisible enemy.

    The dust strewn village shown in tonights programme being bulldozed to the ground was pitiful viewing, for the villagers, for the viewers, for all.

  • Comment number 3.

    It's time to remove the kid gloves and exclude the left-wing from involvement in this sphere and smash these gangs with an iron fist. As a tax payer..... I want a break in the money I contribute to people either too lazy or too stupid to figure out a better more harmonious and productive way to lead their lives.

  • Comment number 4.

    I just hope this war will come to an end soon, for the sake of the Afghan people and the countless lives lost of all sides.

  • Comment number 5.

    I watched this programme and felt somewhat angered, as i spent 7 months in this very area Fob Wishtan and the surrounding PBs. We were drilled into us about No colateral damage and coragouse restraint. and less than a year later the US Marines go in saying it was a mistake to close Wishtan. Me and my men kept the Pharmacy Rd open and clear of IEDs for 7 months and so did the unit who took over us for a further 6 months.
    Now these guys wade in and destroy all the work done in the near 2 year the UK troops had the FOB open. I am talking hearts and minds and getting the locals on side of ISAF. the Yanks will now have a 10 times harder tour now they have done what they done, All my men were angered at what the yanks have done to destroy this area. Rip all men/women who paid the ultimate price for the UK esspecialy those men from FOB wishtan 2 Rifes/B Coy 1 scots and the Mercian Reg

  • Comment number 6.

    This is exactly the same war as Vietnam. America has not learnt to leave things alone that are not theirs. America will lose a lot of life, and will have the learn again, That they cannot fight this kind of war. I feel sorry for the soldiers that have to pay the price for the governments stupidity and lack of action in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 7.

    What a bunch of idiots, this goes against 90% of the principles of COIN. The locals will not now give them low level int crucial to winning the COIN environment.

  • Comment number 8.

    Just what are you British doing in Afghanistan?Could your average squaddie spell the name of the place they could die in?All those deaths....All those coffins in Royal Wooton Bassett.What a waste.The Police force taking up the baton left a lot to be desired.Never do wells strung out on weed without a pair of socks between them.But still.......Democracy has been restored British style.

  • Comment number 9.

    One more thing.Firing missiles(£1,000,000)a pop at people you never really got to know is bad manners.


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