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Jul-13-2008 14:13TweetFollow @OregonNews
Nine Americans Killed Fighting Along Afghanistan's Border with PakistanTim King Salem-News.com
This is the heaviest, single loss for Americans fighting in Afghanistan. Although no final assessment has been made, it is believed insurgents suffered heavy casualties during several hours of fighting.
(KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan) - Nine American Army soldiers were killed in Afghanistan this weekend during fighting with anti-Coalition forces along the country's eastern border with Pakistan.
Salem-News.com reported in early 2007 that these bases were constantly in peril from attacks originating in Pakistan- a country allegedly an ally according to the Bush Administration, but oddly the place where the Taliban is actually from. See a number of video reports below that show the relationship between these deadly attacks and their proximity to the Pakistan border.
The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul called this situation with the loss of Americans in Afghanistan, "one of the biggest single losses in a day for the coalition since the start of military operations there."
A foreign military spokesman said US soldiers and members of the Afghan National Army came under attack at a remote base in Kunar province, near the border with Pakistan. ISAF- NATO's International Security Assistance Force, reports that in addition to the American casualties, 15 ISAF and four Afghan National Army soldiers were wounded.
It is extremely unusual for Americans to suffer significantly larger casualties than Afghan Army forces, as Americans occupy these bases as ETT's - Embedded Training Team Members. This is a role similar to the Green Berets in Vietnam prior to the actual commencement of war in 1964, when they were used primarily only to train the local Vietnamese soldiers.
At one bases in this exact region of Afghanistan, there were only ten American soldiers working with approximately 400 local soldiers from the Afghan National Army.
Among the specific reasons that make this part of Afghanistan more dangerous for western forces than others, American and Afghan soldiers complain about the high rate of desertions from the Afghan National Army. Apparently it is not unusual for an Afghan to join the Army, receive the American uniform and military gear, and they go AWOL and join the other side; Taliban and other anti-Coalition military forces. In some cases, desertion rates approach 20 percent each month, according to unconfirmed but reliable sources, and that accounts just for the AWOL cases originating from the Kabul Military Training Center, which is basic training or "boot camp" for newly enlisted Afghan soldiers.
It does not make the job of telling the enemy soldiers from friendly ones any easier, that much is for certain. Another problem Afghan soldiers talk about is the fact that the Taliban pays young men more for their service, than the Afghan Army which we financially back. That does not make recruiting and retention a success in this war torn land.
The deadly fighting this weekend reportedly began in early morning hours and continued into the day as insurgents were repulsed from an Afghan National Army and ISAF Combat Outpost.
Although no final assessment has been made, it is believed insurgents suffered heavy casualties during several hours of fighting, ISAF says.
There are conflicting reports as to where the latest attack took place. NATO reported earlier that it happened at a small American Combat Outpost in Dara-I-Pech district of Kunar province, came under heavy fire around 4:30 AM local time. NATO claimed that insurgents fired on their position "with small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars using homes, shops and the mosque in the village of Wanat for cover."
The BBC reported that Coalition forces responded with small arms, machine guns, mortars and artillery, and that fighter jets and Apache helicopters were also brought in.
The fighting is close to where US forces were accused of killing 47 civilians in an air strike in Nangarhar province a week ago. The US military said they were militants.
In a separate incident on Sunday, a suicide bomber killed at least 21 people, many of them children, in a market in the Deh Rawud district of Uruzgan province.
In the end, the Bush Administration has handled the conflict in Afghanistan like a bad high school basketball player who won't give up control of the ball. This U.S. President even eliminated the Afghan Children's Fund barely two years after it started, and that was one of the few honorable things George W. Bush had signed into law during the early part of this conflict. The administration relies on the efforts of these soldiers to make up for their own poor tactical planning, and this weekend Americans paid a heavy price.
The firebases in the Pesh Valley need more soldiers and Marines. They did before and they do now. There are bases around Kabul that many forward operating base soldiers will tell you- have far too many people doing nothing, while scarce numbers of combat soldiers live outnumbered and in danger in remote places with names like "Firebase California", "Camp Joyce" and "Lumberyard".
These are video reports from Salem-News.com's Tim King, filed from the Pesh Valley in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan. These reports show how close bases occupied by U.S. military forces are to Pakistan which is a constant source of attacks against American and Afghan military forces:
In Afghanistan, Tim King, reporting for Salem-News.com
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