Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Daily Dead: 10 more down...many more to go

On and on with the end in sight...

Ten American troops were killed at the weekend in two surprise attacks that caused alarm in Nato’s US-led coalition.

In one, hundreds of insurgents attacked a pair of isolated outposts in eastern Afghanistan, killing eight US soldiers and several Afghan policemen in the deadliest battle in 15 months. Scores more Afghan policemen were reportedly captured by the Taleban.

In the other an Afghan policeman opened fire on the American soldiers with whom he was working in central Wardak province, killing two and injuring three.

The US has suffered some of its worst casualties in eastern Afghanistan, where its soldiers have sought to control the remote passes through which Taleban fighters infiltrate from Pakistan, but it had planned shortly to withdraw from the area as part of General McChrystal’s strategy to focus on protecting population centres. Today senior Nato officers across Afghanistan were reassessing the security of hundreds of combat outposts. “Everyone is aware of what happened in Nuristan and checking their outposts are sufficiently well protected and manned,” said Major Jason Henneke, executive officer of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Battalion in Wardak province.

Major Henneke’s battalion itself lost two soldiers late on Friday when the Afghan policeman attacked his American colleagues near the end of a joint operation to clear the Taleban from villages in and around the Nerkh valley. The policeman threw a grenade, opened fire with his AK47, then fled and escaped. US and Afghan authorities are still seeking to determine whether he had simply lost his head, or was a Taleb who had infiltrated the Afghan police.

Either way, the attack unnerved US and other coalition soldiers who must work every day alongside Afghan soldiers and policemen.

“You don’t trust anybody, especially after an incident like this. You fear they may in some way be connected to the Taleban,” said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, who lost one of his closest friends in the attack.
“Young soldiers will think twice before doing joint patrols,” said Lieutenant Colonel Kimo Gallahue, commander of the 2-87.

It was unclear whether the policeman was working for the Taleban or simply ran amok but the attack fuelled the distrust that many Nato soldiers already feel for the Afghan security forces that they are supposed to be working with and training as part of the coalition’s eventual exit strategy.{more}

Rethink Afghanistan

1 comment:

  1. The elite pondscum learned well from Viet Nam. There won't be any bodycounts or pictures of coffins returning on airplanes. May these brave souls enter into Valhalla.