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City of Brass

City of Brass

A Million Bullets

At Read Islam, Conrad reviews A Million Bullets: The Story of the British in Afghanistan by James Fergusson. Here’s Conrad’s introduction:

million-bulletsThis is the first major account on the British operations in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan to be written by a journalist and by large it doesn’t disappoint; providing an excellent description of Operation Herrick 4 that took place in 2006 and the first half of 2007. The title of the book itself is a tongue in cheek jab at John Reid who was Defence Secretary in 2006’s by now infamous quote that he would prefer it if the British army didn’t have to “fire a single bullet” in southern Afghanistan. This unfortunately was not the case and Fergusson reveals that the British army in Helmand did fire over 1 million bullets between October 2006 and March 2007; this figure excludes artillery ordnance and bombs dropped by Coalition air forces or munitions expended by ground attacks carried out by air support. As Fergusson wryly reports, the MoD soon stopped releasing figures on the munitions expended as it didn’t fit well with the “hearts and minds” campaign that was being propounded as approach to defeat the Taliban.

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