In May 2006 a small British Army force was sent to the Helmand province of Afghanistan. They were to keep the peace and perhaps help to build some roads. The defence minister said the mission could be carried out without a shot being fired . But there was no peace to keep and the province quickly turned into a battle zone. The fiercest fighting was in the small, dusty town of Sangin, where the soldiers of 3 Para, a regiment of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, rapidly found themselves besieged by a determined and well-armed enemy. By July they were isolated and surrounded. They were running out of food and were down to boiling river water. In temperatures often approaching 45C, they came under attack three to five times a day, every day for over seven weeks. At times they were assisted on the barricades by non-combatant regiments who were trapped alongside them- drivers and mechanics of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who had never fired a mortar or a machine-gun in their lives before. Over a million bullets, 700 dead Afghans and 6 VC recommendations later, James Fergusson brings us the gripping story of those 52 days. Based on extensive interviews with British sold
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James Fergusson is a freelance journalist and foreign correspondent who has written for many publications including the Independent, The Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and The Economist. From 1997 he reported from Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, covering that city's fall to the Taliban. In 1998 he became the first western journalist in more than two years to interview the fugitive warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. His first book, Kandahar Cockney, told the story of Mir, his Pashtun fixer-interpreter whom he befriended and helped gain political asylum in London. From 1999 to 2001 he worked in Sarajevo as a press spokesman for OHR, the organisation charged with implementing the Dayton, Ohio peace accord that ended Bosnia's savage civil war in 1995. He lives in Edinburgh and is married with two children.
A Million Bullets by James Fergusson
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Transworld Publishers Ltd
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