9 US soldiers died defending a base last week which we abandoned today

Shades of some LZ’s in Vietnam

U.S. forces abandoned the outpost in northeastern Afghanistan where nine American soldiers were killed in a heavy attack by insurgents three days ago, NATO officials said Wednesday.

The withdrawal handed a propaganda victory to the Taliban, and insurgents were quick to move into the village of Wanat beside the abandoned outpost, Afghan officials said. Insurgent fighters nearly overran the barely-built outpost in a dawn raid on Sunday, inflicting the biggest single loss of life for United States forces in Afghanistan since 2005….

A small force of only 45 American soldiers and 25 Afghans had occupied the Wanat outpost for just a few days before the attack Sunday. Outnumbered by militants they were nearly overrun and fought a four-hour pitched battle before the Taliban were repelled. Nine American soldiers were killed and 15 wounded. Four Afghans soldiers were also wounded

To be fair, it wasn’t a major base and US troops didn’t have the numbers they needed. The fact that they were able to hold off a numerically superior force is a testament to their abilities and the power of joint warfighting (i.e. aircraft and helicopters balancing out the equation).

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