C.J. Chivers has done some great work from Afghanistan over the past couple weeks—and if you’ve never read his classic piece about the 1994 2004 Breslan Beslan school massacre in Russia, I’d advise you to get on that ASAP, it's one of the finest pieces of modern journalism out there. But his story today, while not as emotionally gripping as his story about an ambush in the mountains of Afghanistan, arguably contains better reporting than some of his other run and gun combat journalism.
Chivers reports this morning that ammunition found on dead Taliban fighters he was able to examine in the field show that Taliban fighters are using ammo bought by the United States and provided to Afghan security forces. Check out this reporting:
Photographs were taken of the weapons’ serial numbers and markings on the bottoms of the cartridge casings, known as headstamps, which can reveal where and when ammunition was manufactured. The headstamps were then compared with ammunition in government circulation, and with this reporter’s records of ammunition sampled in Afghan magazines and bunkers in multiple provinces in recent years.
That means that Chivers has been keeping a running tally of the ammo he has been finding on battlefields in Afghanistan over the past couple years, which is some pretty hardcore reporting.
Read the whole story. It’s not going to blow the lid off of anything we didn’t already know or at least suspect was already happening, but that doesn’t change the fact that Chivers has been slowly, with forethought, cataloging ammo. Enough said.
Posted at ARES.