Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

RIR's Taliban battles are a hit on YouTube

An apple a day helps keep the Taliban at bay

The Afghan town recaptured by coalition troops last week had already withstood a Taliban onslaught thanks to troops from the Royal Irish Regiment. Dramatic video, uploaded to the YouTube website, shows how soldiers from Easy Company in the 1st battalion of the RIR repelled waves of attacks in Musa Qala last year.



That was just before the decision was made to pull out of the town in Helmand province, where some of the fiercest fighting in Afghanistan continues to take place.

In the absence of coalition troops, the Taliban took over the town and brought back their reign of terror. Taliban fighters reportedly hanged a 12-year-old boy for alleged spying activities.

Helmand provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein said: "The poor boy had nothing to do with the government or foreign troops."

Combined British, American and Afghan forces recaptured the town last week after days of heavy fighting. Video highlights of Easy Company's combat have become popular on YouTube.

Military sources say the fighting at Musa Qala was some of the heaviest experienced by the Royal Irish troops. One soldier said they used as much ammunition in a matter of days as they would use in two years of training. Three soldiers were killed when the 100 troops of Easy Company fought in Helmand last year.

The entire battalion - reinforced by some TA soldiers from Northern Ireland - will be deployed in the same area of Afghanistan in the spring to train and fight alongside the
Afghan Army. The YouTube footage below shows a series of dramatic moments from combat.

"At one stage you can see a lad eating an apple as he carries ammunition forward," said a military source.

"That's how routine the fighting had become at that stage. You can also see one of the lads firing a machine gun in his flip flops. It wasn't that they'd got very casual. They'd just woken up and had to immediately start fighting."





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