Taliban Sniper Proves Rifle Skills Don’t Suck So Much

The New York Times has been running a series by C J Chivers dissing the marksmanship of our good friends in the Afghan police and Army. Mr. Chivers has also heavily criticized the Taliban’s shooting. As TTAG has warned many times, never under-estimate your enemy. As proof of this strategic mindset, we present this morning’s [UK] Times account of a deadly Taliban sniper. “A TALIBAN sniper has shot dead up to seven British soldiers during a five-month killing spree in a town regarded as the most dangerous place in Afghanistan . . . The Taliban hitman demonstrated his skill last month when he picked off a British sniper who was on the lookout for his insurgent rival. Three of his suspected victims have been army sharpshooters, including one killed by a single bullet between the eyes.” Yes, well, we’ve got a plan for that, right? Right? “Their sniper is giving us real problems and we’ve not yet worked out how to take him down,” a “senior British Army officer” told the Times. “Senior officers consider the situation in Sangin to be ‘very bad’ because of the determination and skill shown by the Taliban fighters there.” The British are losing their hubris, one soldier at a time. But what of the Americans?

After a decade of dithering, the U.S. Marines are equipping two tilt-rotor transport aircraft bound for Afghanistan with the GAU-2B machine-gun. Strategypage.com reports that the Marines will retro-fit the guns to the rest of their Afghan-based fleet of MV-22 aircraft. Just in case you have no idea what this all means—save the fact that this is another sign that the U.S. military are relying on overwhelming force to defeat the Taliban—here’s some tech talk to keep you distracted. “The GAU-2B is a remote control turret using a six-barrel 7.62mm machine-gun. This system has a rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute (50 per second), and max range of 1,500 meters. The system weighs a few hundred pounds and includes 4,000 rounds of ammo.” But don’t worry that the Marines are getting too feisty with it. “The machine-gun turret is mainly there for protection from local threats, not for turning the V-22 into an assault aircraft. The marines also plan to mount an M-2 12.7mm machine-gun on the rear ramp as well.” To paraphrase Winston Churchill, if you’re going in that direction, keep going.