With the Afghan Army

Collection with 27 media items created by laura.lesevre

07 Oct 2014 09:11

Fausto Biloslavo follows the soldiers of the Afghan Army during an operation against the Taliban who are surrounding all the areas close to Herat. He travels with the soldiers through the wild Afghan landscape and listens to the stories of the soldiers who are paid 200 euros for risking their lives against the Taliban. And as soon as the Nato mandate will end by the end of 2014, it would get even worse for the Afghan people.

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Text and Photos by: Fausto Biloslavo

"The policemen were ambushed. One agent was killed instantly, but the other five were alive, although injured," says the soldier Maitullah Wafa, back from a violent battle.

After placing the last belt of ammunitions, the young Afghan adds, "The Taliban have reached them while they were fizzling on the ground. They were shot to death one by one with a Kalashnikov.”

The forgotten war in Afghanistan continues with no mercy, but NATO troops are ready to leave the country by the end of 2014.

Now the army of Kabul has to repel the assault of the Taliban by itself, with no help from foreign armies. Since January 2014 there have been 422 attacks in western Afghanistan, especially booby trap attacks. Throughout the country, every month the Afghan army loses from 200 to 400 men.

The reconnaissance operation starts in the territory of Herat, from the base of the 207th Corps at Camp Zafar - which means"victory". At five in the morning, before dawn, the officials pray toward Mecca and they are illuminated by the lights of the armored jeeps left in dowry by the Americans.

The column of soldiers moves along a sandy track and goes through a valley surrounded by barren mountains where there are houses made from mud and straw. In addition to the tanks, with no anti-mine system, the Afghans travel on uncovered vehicles. If they bump on a booby trap they would explode ending in a thousand pieces like twigs.

The mountains on the other side of the river are Taliban-infested. A week ago the Talibans attacked the army along the road that leads to the great dam of Selma. "On the armor of the tank I felt the bullets bouncing. The rockets were exploding everywhere. A few meters away, I saw a Dushman (which means enemy), who had launched a rocket bursting in three steps from us. I took the grenade launcher firing at him and I saw him fall, "says Maitullah, a young soldier, with a bit of pride.

When the column of soldiers passes through their villages, the people remain composed. Women covered by turquoise burqas look like ghosts, some children wave to the soldiers while the shepherds look after their sheep.

To prevent any suicide bombing, the soldiers check all the cars and passengers, even the turbans of the men, which could hide a detonator.

The Afghan army is made up of almost 200,000 men. The base pay of an Afghan soldier is 11,500 afghani, less than 200 euro per month: this is all they are given for risking their lives every day.

The commander of the corps army built with the help of Italians, general Taji Mohammed Jahed, is convinced that "there is no difference between Daish (the Islamic state in Arabic) and the Talibans. Both distort Islam to use it against humanity. The first one kills in the name of the caliphate while the Talibans kill in the name of their emirate. "

Afghanistan War Afghanistan Afghan Military Army Operations Herat Chest I Sharif Italian Jour... Embedded Taliban Anti Terrorism Nato Nato Withdrawal Afghan Forces

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Afghan army 04
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan policeman supervises surveillance of the Salman Dam close to Chest i Sharif. The dam has come under attack by the Taliban on multiple occasions. The Taliban tried to conquer the dam the week before the reporter was there.

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Afghan army 05
Obe, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers line up in rank and file at the Afghan Army's Obe base between Herat and Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 06
Obe, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers line up in rank and file at the Afghan Army's Obe base between Herat and Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 01
Obe, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

An Afghan military vehicle patrols the streets of Obe, a village with houses made from mud and straw.

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Afghan army 03
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier mans a machine gun mounted atop an armored personnel carrier during reconnaissance operation against the Taliban between Herat to Chest i Sharif.

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Afghan army 07
Chest I-sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers from the Third Battalion have been deployed at the Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 08
Chest I-sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers prepare for a mission at their outpost in Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 09
Chest I-sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier stationed in Chest-i-Sharif stands at attention. His rifle has been decorated with a patriotic decal.

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Afghan army 02
Obe, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier poses in his military vehicle while patrolling the streets of Obe.

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Afghan army 10
Chest I-sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier mans his post on the outskirts of Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 11
Chest I-sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers prepare for a mission at their outpost in Chest-i-Sharif.Chest i Sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan: Afghan soldiers on outpost at Chest i Sharif.

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Afghan army 12
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier smiles down from a covered vehicle on the way from Herat to the Afghan Army's Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 14
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers patrol the roads on the way from Herat to the Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 13
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers patrol the roads on the way from Herat to the Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 15
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers patrol the roads on the way from Herat to the Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 16
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

An ancient site sits on the horizon where Afghan soldiers have stopped along their route between Herat and the Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 17
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

The road from Herat to the Chest-i-Sharif base is difficult to cross without well-outfitted military vehicles.

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Afghan army 18
Obe, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers relax in the shade after lunch at their base in Obe.

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Afghan army 19
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier covers his face to protect it from dust and wind during a patrol mission from Herat to Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 21
Chest I-sharif, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers from the 3rd Battalion train to fight the Taliban at the Chest-i-Sharif base near the Salman Dam.

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Afghan army 20
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers line up, one of them donning the national flag for the camera, at their outpost at Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 22
Obe, Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

General Zariat Shah Abed harangues the soldiers at the base in Obe.

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Afghan army 23
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan soldier on the way from Herat to Obe base. He uses a mattress to shade the turret of the armored personnel carrier.

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Afghan army 24
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

Afghan general Zariat Shah Abed, commander of the first brigade of Afghan soldiers, on the way from Herat to the base in Obe.

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Afghan army 25
Herat, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
29 Sep 2014

An Afghan official prays before leaving for the reconnaissance mission from Herat to Chest-i-Sharif.

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Afghan army 26
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

Afghan soldiers patrol the roads on the way from Herat to the Chest-i-Sharif base.

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Afghan army 27
Herat Province, Afghanistan
By laura.lesevre
30 Sep 2014

Afghan Army vehicles patrol the roads on the way from Herat to the Chest-i-Sharif base.