10 November 2007

Fierce fighting in Afghanistan

Matt Dupree of The Long War Journal on the recent fighting in Afghanistan:

As the notorious Afghan winter weather draws near, snow already blanketing some areas in the eastern highlands, heavy fighting has exploded throughout most of the south and east. Taliban fighters staged a recent series of assaults on remote districts while International Security Assistance Force has aggressively responded, launching a series of offensives in northern Badghis province, Ghazni in the east, and in the rugged mountains of central Uruzgan. Season long fighting in Helmand province has also helped flush Taliban fighters westward, leaving a trail of destruction along the way and grabbing international media attention.

There's lots more in Matt's comprehensive analysis.

And from the LWJ's 10 Nov daily Afghanistan entry:

Six ISAF and three Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taliban ambush in eastern Afghanistan; eight ISAF troops and 11 Afghan soldiers were wounded during the fighting. "Several" Taliban were killed during fighting near the Nahr Surkh District of Helmand province. The ISAF and the Afghan military denied the Taliban controlled the Tarin Kowt-Kandahar road.

Update: More on Friday's attack in Nuristan from S&S.

U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. David Accetta said the soldiers were not on a combat patrol when they were attacked.

“They were actually on their way back from a meeting in a nearby village with elders,” Accetta said via telephone from Bagram air base, just north of the capital, Kabul.

He said that insurgents used rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire when they attacked the patrol. Officials said it was too early to determine whether the attack was carried out by Taliban or al-Qaida forces. Criminal gangs also operate in the area.

The U.S. has responsibility for a large swath of territory in Afghanistan’s volatile east along the Pakistani border. The area has been a hotbed for skirmishes in recent weeks, resulting in several deaths of U.S. and Afghan forces. Dozens of Taliban and al-Qaida militants have also been killed in those battles. (...)

[ISAF spokesman U.S. Air Force Maj. Charles Anthony] said the loss was being felt around the world. Most of the troops operating in the area of the attack are with the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade, which is based out of Germany and Italy.

There are currently two U.S. combat brigades - over 8000 troops - in Eastern Afghanistan, versus one last year.

"If you look back, last year we didn't have a significant presence in Nuristan and now we do," he said. "That all contributes to the fact there have been more casualties this year than there have been in previous years."

"With Sunday being Veterans Day, this is a reminder of the sacrifices that our troops and our Afghan partners make for the peace and stability of the Afghan people," Accetta said.

Click here for more 173rd ABCT Afghanistan posts.

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