First Wednesday: Kill/Capture missions in Afghanistan

Talk July 6, 2011 7:00 PM

Following the targeted killing of Osama Bin Laden we will be devoting July’s First Wednesday to the expansion of man hunt missions used in Afghanistan to take out thousands of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

This vast campaign of kill/capture missions is veiled in secrecy and has become a major part of the counter insurgency. But how does it level with another feature of the counter insurgency involved in winning the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan?

With a panel of experts we will be examining the effects of the kill/capture missions on the ground, looking at how they are conducted and how the intelligence is obtained. What effect are they having and could they play a definitive role in ending the war?

Chaired by Paddy O’Connell of BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House.


Lieutenant General (Retd) Sir Graeme Lamb, KBE, CMG, DSO, commissioned into the British Army in 1973 for the following 38 years he deployed in various theatres of war during which he commanded on operations at ever rank. He stepped down as Commander of the Field Army in July 2009 and returned to Afghanistan at the direct request of General David Petraeus and General Stanley McChrystal of the US Army to scope a programme designed to repeat the success in Iraq whereby insurgents are persuaded to give up their arms. 

Emal Pasarly, multimedia editor for the BBC Pashto-Persian service.

Kate Clark, senior analyst for the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Her involvement in Afghanistan goes back to 1999 when she was the BBC Kabul correspondent, she was a frontline reporter during the 2001 war and the fall of the Taliban. Her recent investigation into US targeted killings in Afghanistan is entitled ‘The Takhar attack: Targeted killings and the parallel worlds of US intelligence and Afghanistan’.

Stephen Grey, investigative writer and broadcaster and author of Operation Snakebite: The Explosive True Story of an Afghan Desert Siege, about the war in Helmand, Afghanistan. His most recent film America’s Secret Killers, about the US-led kill/capture program in Afghanistan, was broadcast on Dispatches on June 6.

Dr Tim Bird, lecturer at the Joint Services Command and Staff College and the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London and author of Afghanistan: How the West Lost its Way. His teaching specialities are European Security, US Foreign and Security Policy, and International Security.