(Photo courtesy of the Brostrom family)
“It is almost a lost cause up in Nurestan. There needs to be a lot more than just a platoon there if you want to make a big difference.”
– 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, a few weeks before being killed at Wanat, July 13, 2008.
Giving back as much as it received, 8 U.S. soldiers and 2 Afghan security forces (AP said as many as 7, but that figure now appears inaccurate) were killed Saturday in a brazen attack by 200-300 fighters, reminiscent of a similar raid in July of 2008. Developing:
By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, October 4, 2009; 11:55 AM
KABUL, Oct. 4 — Firing rockets and rifles, Taliban militiamen attacked American and Afghan military outposts in a daylong siege on Saturday that killed eight U.S. soldiers and two Afghan security forces in one of the deadliest battles in months, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.
The fighting began early Saturday morning and raged throughout the day in a remote region of eastern Afghanistan in Nuristan province, which borders Pakistan. Staging their attack from steep mountainsides that overlook the outposts in the valley below, on a morning when weather made visibility poor, the Taliban fighters attacked the small American and Afghan bases using rifles, machine guns, grenades and rockets, according to U.S. military officials.
The Nuristan province attack — in its severity and location — bore a striking resemblance to a deadly battle in July 2008 in the tiny village of Wanat, in the same region, which left nine U.S. soldiers dead and 27 wounded after several hours of fighting. That battle prompted three investigations and was cited by many as an example of what was wrong with the American military approach to fighting the insurgency. The Wanat attack contributed to the change in strategy to move soldiers from remote areas where they didn’t have the forces to defeat the insurgents and move them to safer, more populated areas.
See yesterday’s post.
Badar, the provincial governor, said he was unaware of American plans to abandon their outpost in the area. He said that his province has a shortage of Afghan soldiers and an incompetent police force. The province is at risk of falling to the Taliban if the Americans pull out, he said.
“I request that they stay. If they leave, it will be very dangerous for Nuristan,” he said.
Perhaps more reinforcement is in order? Or not?
*UPDATE* 10/04/2008 13:08
Jules Crittenden draws Tet comparison:
Sounds a little like the Taliban would like to pull off an Afghan Tet. Rack up some bad headlines, drive down the poll numbers and panic Congress while the president dithers. You’ll recall that in the original Tet, the Viet Cong and North Vietnam won a Pyrrhic political victory. Though decimated, severely compromed as a fighting force going forward and having failed to hold any ground, they managed to turn American public and political opinion. And won.
Certainly, our enemies are well aware of how much influence our “if it bleeds it leads” media has on American public opinion and political deliberations. It only embolden’s them further, to press on until we reach our tipping point of retreat and defeat.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.