It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
As Afghanistan prepares for an election, reporter Sean Smith joins the troops on Operation Panther's Claw. He finds them frustrated at the inexperience and lack of discipline of the Afghan National Army. Operation Panther's Claw has just begun. Objective: secure a small part of Helmand province, the Taliban heartland, before the Afghan elections. For the Black watch Regiment, they're facing not only an elusive and powerful foe, but a reluctant Afghan Army. 'They've searched these in two minutes' says Captain Brown as the ANA search homes for a Taliban arms cache. Tensions between the two armies are boiling over into open conflict. 'They are inherently idle' says Captain Brown. In Babaji the area is still far from safe. Metal detectors pick up Improvised Explosive Devices, the IED's that have killed more British soldiers this year than bullets. 'All the governments who've been in power till this moment couldn't bring peace' says an old man 'It's even worse now'. The Ministry of defence will, in time, claim Panthers Claw a success - unofficially estimating 230 enemy deaths. Yet after weeks embedded with the Black Watch, Sean Smith saw no evidence of Taliban dead. Operation Panther's Claw cost the lives of 10 British soldiers. It's success will be measured on Thursday, when the country goes to the polls.