One of our friends forwarded us a copy of an Italian magazine article about Italian troops from the Friuli Brigade and TF 45 in Bala Murghab. The cover photo is an Italian Corporal after what is described as three straight days of combat in Bala Murghab.
Bala Murghab is in the Badghis province of NW Afghanistan, near Turkmenistan—apparently a hub for smuggling weapons and drugs in addition to Taliban activity). We looked through the others and thought the different kinds of load-bearing kit and rifles were interesting. A quick check of official ISAF photo releases showed a number of pictures of Italian troops, all of them carrying either AR 70/90s of some kind or good old fashioned M4s.
Our Italian is so rusty you might think we don’t even speak it, but some of the article sounds familiar…numerous rpg attacks, worry about civilians on the battlefield and dust causing problems with a machine gun. None of our handlers ever served with Italians in Afghanistan, though we’ve heard good and bad. We’re wondering about that LBE, and how Beretta assault rifles run in desert conditions (or at all).