Saturday, October 10, 2009

US forces leave isolated Afghan base after attack


By Todd Pitman, Associated Press Writer – Fri Oct 9, 2009.

KABUL – Taliban fighters claimed Friday their flag was flying victoriously over an eastern Afghan village U.S. forces abandoned after suffering casualties in one of the war's deadliest battles for American troops.

The withdrawal this week from mountainous Kamdesh, an isolated hamlet near the Pakistan border, was planned well before the intense Oct. 3 attack left a pair of outposts in ruins and eight American troops dead.

The NATO-led coalition said the move was part of a new strategy outlined months ago by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, to shut down remote difficult-to-defend outposts and redirect forces toward larger population areas to protect more civilians.

The strategy has an inadvertent consequence, however: Every inch of ground the U.S. cedes, emboldened Taliban militants are likely to take and trumpet as a victory over another superpower.

The Afghan war entered its ninth year this week with President Barack Obama's administration pondering how to counter an insurgency growing more powerful by the day.

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