In one of the last military actions of British troops in Afghanistan, a sniper shoots a suicide bomber’s belt trigger from 900 meters away--and kills six Taliban soldiers. The lance corporal in the Coldstream Guards (who remains anonymous for security reasons) took the shot after noticing the man "had a shawl on. It rose up and the sniper saw he had a machine gun" Lieutenant Colonel Richard Slack, the commanding officer of the 9/12 Royal Lancers, recalls.
They were in contact and he was moving to a firing position. The sniper engaged him and the guy exploded. There was a pause on the radio and the sniper said 'I think I've just shot a suicide bomber.' The rest of them were killed in the blast.
Despite this incredible military feat, it reminds us that Afghanistan continues to be plagued by the Taliban at a time when the Western world has pretty much given up on the country. The British have ended their combat mission in Helmand Province; the U.S. is selling its military equipment; martial law is effectively instituted in Kabul to protect foreigners ahead of elections. And all the while the Taliban is as confident of victory as ever.
While one spokesman of the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahed, says Western soldiers are "so scared they're confined to their bases", President Obama orders complete withdrawal by the end of the year. To the enemy, it seems the U.S. has given up completely.
It seems that way to the military as well. The media would have us believe that our wars against Islamic terrorism are unpopular, yet 53% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe the fight against the Taliban has been worth it. A recent Washington Post poll shows that 48% don’t think President Obama is a good commander-in-chief of the military, while 42% do. In other words, American soldiers believe in the fight against the Taliban, but not Obama’s execution of it.
So let’s celebrate the death of suicide bombers, but also remember that they continue to murder innocent people in Afghanistan. If every soldier was as efficient as that British sniper, we would have won the war by now.