2008: American troops in Afghanistan are
not happy with how a July 13th battle with the Taliban was reported. In that
action, some 200 Taliban attacked a U.S. "base" and killed or wounded more than
half the 50 or so U.S. and Afghan troops found there. Actual U.S. casualties
were nine dead and fifteen wounded (including walking wounded).
troops were irked that, once again, the mass media got lazy and didn't bother
to report the action accurately. For one thing, there was no "base". What the
Taliban attacked was a temporary parking area for vehicles used to conduct
patrols of the area. These are set up regularly, and have been used for years.
These are secure areas, but basically a parking lot surrounded by barbed wire
and several sandbagged observation posts. This one was set a few days before
the attack, and was due to be taken down soon, as the patrol activity moved to
defensive precautions are taken any time U.S. troops stop for more than a few hours.
That's a tactic pioneered by the Romans over two thousand years ago. In this
case, it paid off. The Taliban infiltrated several hundred fighters into a
nearby village, and opened fire from homes, businesses and a mosque. The U.S.
and Afghan troops called in air support and kept fighting until the Taliban
fled, taking most of their dead and wounded with them.
are angry because, while the Taliban got lucky (such attacks are rare), the
enemy did not succeed in taking the U.S. position, and fled the battlefield
after suffering heavier casualties. The
U.S. troops are much better shots, and know they killed far more of the
Taliban. Moreover, they saw smart bombs and missiles hitting buildings that
Taliban were firing from. From long experience, they know that people inside
bombed buildings rarely survive the explosion.
the troops involved were from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and paratroopers do
not like anyone implying they were beaten at anything. Especially because, in
this case, they weren't.