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banner Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 15:24 GMT
Ground combat
American troops from the 101st Airborne Division face guerrilla tactics
The Royal Marines have carried out their final operation before coming home from Afghanistan. But before they had even packed their bags, the marines have had to defend themselves against criticism that they have not had much success.


Monday 8 July

A marine in Afghanistan
Has the operation been a success or failure?

At the end of their mission in Afghanistan, the Royal Marines are having to defend themselves against criticism that they have not had much success. More than 1,700 marines were sent out in April, but they have made no confirmed contact with Al-Queda or the Taliban.

 The BBC's Damien Grammaticas reports


Thursday 2 May

A marine from 45 commando with his weapon in eastern Afghanistan
The marines have yet to be involved in combat with al-Qaeda forces

Royal Marines are deployed on a second mission, again in south east Afghanistan. British troops are spearheading a 1,000 strong force involved in the hunt for remaining al-Qaeda forces. They are operating in an area which has not been cleared before by coalition forces.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports


Thursday 18 April

Royal Marines occupying a strategic position above Ginger Valley in eastern Afghanistan
Ginger Valley in eastern Afghanistan where the marines were deployed

Royal Marines return from their first mission in the mountains after a five day operation. They found weapons and equipment but had no direct contact with al-Qaeda forces. Meanwhile an inquiry's begun into how a US plane bombed a group of Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan, killing four of them.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports


Wednesday 17 April

Troops from 45 Commando
Royal Marines in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan

The first pictures are released of the Royal Marines in action against the remnants of al-Qaeda in Afganistan. They show the Marines destroying al-Qaeda artillery positions in south-eastern Afghanistan, close to the Pakistan border. This report is sent from their base at Bagram.

 The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports


Tuesday 16 April

Royal Marines board a Chinook helicopter
Royal Marines board a Chinook helicopter

Hundreds of British troops are taking part in an operation in a mountain valley in eastern Afghanistan. Their mission is to clear remaining al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters from the area.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports

 The BBC's James Robbins reports


Wednesday 20 March

A Royal Marine trains on HMS Ocean

The UK government defends its decision to send a British battle group to try to wipe out the last of the Afghan terrorists. In an emergency debate in the Commons MPs expressed concerns that British Royal Marines might become bogged down in protracted fighting.

 The BBC's Andrew Marr reports


Tuesday 19 March

Royal Marines
Britain agreed to supply 1,700 Royal Marines

Hundreds of British troops across the UK are preparing to leave for Afghanistan. The UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says they will stay in the country until the al-Qaeda network is completely eliminated. But the exact tasks remain unclear.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


Tuesday 12 March

A US soldier patrols buildings near Gardez
The US lost eight soldiers during the fighting

US-led forces in Afghanistan are reported to have overrun the remaining Taleban and al-Qaeda positions in the mountains south of Gardez. An Afghan general fighting alongside the Americans said they were no longer meeting any resistance. But the Americans say it's slow progress clearing the al-Qaeda cave complexes.

 The BBC's Adam Brookes reports


Sunday 10 March

Alliance troops survey the battlefield
Alliance troops survey the battlefield

The US Army says the bulk of the fighting to oust al-Qaeda and Taleban forces from mountain hideouts in eastern Afghanistan is now over and it has withdrawn 400 troops from the battle. Helicopters flew battle-weary US troops back to Bagram air base.

 The BBC's Kate Clark reports


Thursday 7 March

A US helicopter drops off troops
More US troops arrive ready to fight

Heavy air bombardment is reported from the mountain area around the city of Gardez. The Taleban and al-Qaeda are still putting up stiff resistance despite heavy casualties in the fighting. Four-hundred of their fighters have been killed since the fighting started.

 The BBC's Adam Brookes reports


Wednesday 6 March

Afghans read propaganda leaflets
Warning: "Surrender militants or die"

Hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters are believed dead as Operation Anaconda continues south of Gardez in a mountain area of 70 square miles. The Americans are deploying 1100 troops by helicopter and are trying to surround pockets of al-Qaeda and Taleban resistance.

 The BBC's David Shukman reports


Tuesday 5 March


Smoke from the mountain range during a US raid
Jets are pounding caves high in the mountains

In eastern Afghanistan, coalition air and ground forces have been pressing ahead with their assault on an al-Qaeda stronghold. The Americans claimed to have killed "a lot of people" and capturing a cave complex near of Gardez.

 The BBC's Adam Brookes reports


Monday 4 March


US Army soldiers board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Bagram
A Chinook takes off for Operation Anaconda

The fiercest battle in the war against terrorism is going on in the mountains of Afghanistan, and costing increasing numbers of American lives. Eight or nine American soldiers have been killed, and 40 injured. Seven of those Americans died when two Chinook helicopters came under heavy fire as they were landing special forces.

 The BBC's Stephen Sackur reports


Sunday 3 March


US troops
The operation is thought to be the biggest offensive far

American and Afghan troops are continuing a major assault on al-Qaeda and Taleban positions in the mountains near Gardez, in eastern Afghanistan. The offensive is thought to involve several hundred American soldiers, more than any other operation so far in the Afghan conflict.

 The BBC's Susannah Price reports

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