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Old 10-04-2009   #1
Schmedlap
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Exclamation FOB Keating attack repulsed

Moderator's Note

This was called 'Considerable casualties in Afghanistan' and was changed 2/12/2013 to FOB Keating attack repulsed. (Ends)


From Michael Yon's twitter feed, beginning at about 12:43AM, EST, 10/04/09...

Quote:
Americans hit hard in Afghanistan. Casualties "considerable." I first got this more than 12 hours ago but is still hush.

The word to me is that a base was hit hard. Little other news other than casualties "considerable."

Nothing on the wires about a large attack.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-12-2013 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Added link. Added Mod's Note
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Old 10-04-2009   #2
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Default AP just reported

KABUL — 8 international troops and 2 Afghans killed in attack on military outposts in Afghanistan.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...xyQ1wD9B42SEG0
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Old 10-04-2009   #3
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From the NYT:

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KABUL, Oct. 4 (Reuters) - Eight U.S. troops were killed in battle after tribal militia attacked two combat outposts in a remote area in eastern Afghanistan, the military said on Sunday, the deadliest battle for U.S. troops in more than a year.

Two Afghan soldiers were also killed in the battle, which took place in a remote area from which U.S. forces had already announced plans to withdraw as part of commander General Stanley McChrystal's strategy to focus his forces on population centres.

Saturday's attacks were launched by militia in Nuristan province from a local mosque and a nearby village on two joint NATO and Afghan outposts, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said. The NATO troops in the area are American.

"My heart goes out to the families of those we have lost and to their fellow soldiers who remained to finish the fight," Colonel Randy George, commander of the U.S. force in the eastern mountain area bordering Pakistan, said in the statement.

"This was a complex attack in a difficult area. Both the U.S. and Afghan soldiers fought bravely together. I am extremely proud of their professionalism and bravery."

The statement added: "coalition forces' previously announced plans to depart the area as part of a broader realignment to protect larger populations remains unchanged."
Tribal militia?
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Old 10-04-2009   #4
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8289200.stm

BBC, so can't speak to the actual accuracy, but here it is.
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Old 10-04-2009   #5
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Dang. I was hoping that this thread would serve a placeholder to shoot down any rumors. I guess it's for real.

This, too, just popped up a few minutes ago...
Quote:
Militant fighters streaming from a village and a mosque attacked a pair of remote outposts near the Pakistan border, killing eight American soldiers and as many as seven Afghan forces in one of the fiercest gunbattles of the troubled eight-year war.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack for coalition forces since a similar raid in July 2008 killed nine American soldiers in the same mountainous region known as a haven for al-Qaida militants. The U.S. has already said it plans to leave the remote area to focus on Afghan population centres.

via canoe.ca
More at the link.

Yon said (about eight hours ago) that casualties were still coming in, even though the attack had occurred quite a while earlier. I don't know if that means walking wounded stayed behind to maintain security or if that is the reason for the disparity in ANSF casualty figures.

Last edited by Schmedlap; 10-04-2009 at 03:03 PM. Reason: Added last paragraph
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Old 10-04-2009   #6
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Default Heavy US losses in Afghan battle

Quote:
Eight American soldiers and two Afghan troops have been killed in the deadliest attack on coalition troops for more than a year, officials say.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8289200.stm

I think this is yet another incident that goes to show that a change of tactics and strategy is needed in this part of Afghanistan.

My thoughts are also with the familes of the fallen.

Last edited by Kevin23; 10-04-2009 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 10-04-2009   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin23 View Post
I think this is yet another incident that goes to show that a change of tactics and strategy is needed in this part of Afghanistan.
How so? Eight US and 7 Afghan KIA after an onslaught by around 100 or so attackers who apparently know what they're doing? That seems like a pretty good performance by the good guys. I guess it depends on one's perspective. I suspect that many Americans think that wars can and should be lopsided affairs like in the movies.

Last edited by Schmedlap; 10-04-2009 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 10-04-2009   #8
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Default GEN McChrystal to face some questions

According to press reports, Gen McChrystal ordered such outposts in Nuristan province closed, in order to focus troops in populated areas. It seems likely that the Taliban mounted this attack to create the impression that they are driving the U.S. Army out. We will see if they succeed with this information operation.

As that IO battle percolates, McChrystal, whose stock price is probably dropping in the West Wing, will no doubt be asked a few questions:

1) Why the delay closing the eastern outposts? Any plans to accelerate the closures now? And how will that look?

2) Any connection between your new rules of engagement and the Taliban's ability to organize this attack?

3) The President's objective is to “to disrupt, dismantle and destroy al Qaeda.” Yet you plan on abandoning the positions in Afghanistan that are closest to the al Qaeda senior leadership's suspected positions in Pakistan and al Qaeda's principle infiltration routes into Afghanistan. How will this strategy achieve the President's objective?

---

Let us pause for a moment to remember the fallen, their families, and their friends.

-Robert Haddick
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Old 10-04-2009   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
See also, earlier thread: Breaking News in Afghanistan? "Considerable" casualties?

Moderators might want to combine the two. (Or just delete my thread, because it was a "breaking news" item that is no longer breaking - Kevin asserts a point for discussion that can go somewhere).

On that point of discussion:


How so? Eight US and 7 Afghan KIA after an onslaught by around 100 or so attackers who apparently know what they're doing? That seems like a pretty good performance by the good guys. I guess it depends on one's perspective. I suspect that many Americans think that wars can and should be lopsided affairs like in the movies.
My mistake, I didn't see that a thread on this had already been started.

I guess in terms of my comments, I thought the attack just drove home the need to reassess the situation in Afghanistan.
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Old 10-04-2009   #10
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Default That's scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westhawk View Post
As that IO battle percolates, McChrystal, whose stock price is probably dropping in the West Wing...
Good MSM snark line, poor serious comment IMO. Dana Milbank will love it, tho'...

All of the questions you pose will likely be asked by the ignorant (read MSM, Congress, WH Staffers) so for you to surface them in that vein as a preemptive effort to those yo-yos is worthwhile. If, OTOH, they are posed as serious questions, they are a terrible indictment of the Prez and his crew or who ever would ask such relatively inane questions.

"How will that look?" look?

Any connection between the ROE and the Talibs ability to attack? That's like asking if our presence in Afghanistan has any connection. 'When did you stop beating your wife, General McChrystal...'
Quote:
...How will this strategy achieve the President's objective?
How well can you mix tactics and strategery...
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Old 10-05-2009   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
How so? Eight US and 7 Afghan KIA after an onslaught by around 100 or so attackers who apparently know what they're doing? That seems like a pretty good performance by the good guys. I guess it depends on one's perspective. I suspect that many Americans think that wars can and should be lopsided affairs like in the movies.
If our objective were to hold ground or attrit enemy this would be a clear win. But there are obvious questions to be raised here about COIN...

...except those questions would fall into the same category with those Ken discusses.

Because we aren't doing COIN in Nuristan, not in any real sense. We are defending remote outposts (and little beyond the Hescos) and awaiting decisions from far away. (There's part of the answer Westhawks' "1) Why the delay closing the eastern outposts?") Wait long enough and bad things happen. Bad things happen and decisions are impacted....
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Old 10-05-2009   #12
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Default To clarify...

We were not waiting for something bad to happen; something bad happened while we were waiting for clarity on exactly what direction we would be going.

That lesson will be lost in the resulting noise.

Last edited by Greyhawk; 10-05-2009 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 10-05-2009   #13
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Got an email from a friend who is on a ETT with the ANA that there had been a large fight yesterday. He was of course vague due to OPSEC, but he isn't the type to send such an email b/c of a run of the mill fight. It's his 3d tour as well, so it must have been something.

I suspect the first reports are perhaps understating the complexity/scope/duration of the attack. And a good catch that it may be tied to Taliban IO about moving out of the remote outposts, which I called for awhile ago. We weren't really accomplishing much out there anyway. Classic case of GEN McCrystal's dilemma on "60 Minutes", where yes, things were getting better, but not at the rate they needed to be.
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Old 10-05-2009   #14
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Quote:
3) The President's objective is to “to disrupt, dismantle and destroy al Qaeda.” Yet you plan on abandoning the positions in Afghanistan that are closest to the al Qaeda senior leadership's suspected positions in Pakistan and al Qaeda's principle infiltration routes into Afghanistan. How will this strategy achieve the President's objective?
I would argue that being "close to" suspected positions in no way means that those COPs influenced a thing. Anyone asking McChrystal this line of questioning doesn't get it all.

I am reminded of the Portuguese in Mozambique, who enjoyed relative mobility when they decided to saunter forth, but spent an unbalanced amount of time secluded in their COPs. The results were almost predictable.

Disrupting Al Qaeda is definitely germane to the discussion right now. Are we still after AQ at all, considering the instability we see in the country? Are they operating in AFG with the impunity they once enjoyed?
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Old 10-05-2009   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westhawk View Post

3) The President's objective is to “to disrupt, dismantle and destroy al Qaeda.” Yet you plan on abandoning the positions in Afghanistan that are closest to the al Qaeda senior leadership's suspected positions in Pakistan and al Qaeda's principle infiltration routes into Afghanistan. How will this strategy achieve the President's objective?
Bob, ever read Street without Joy? Shows the (lack of) value of undermanned outposts in bad country. These posts had little/nothing to do with AQIZ targeting. We still have ways to get there without these outposts, which have become logistical/tactical challenges and are having precisely the opposite effect on the population they intended because of lack of force structure to do more than really protect themselves ...
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Old 10-05-2009   #16
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It has been said that we "took our eye off the ball" in Afghanistan when we allocated resources to Iraq. In reality, we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan for the decade plus that preceded 9/11. I wonder what future threats we are neglecting right now.
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Old 10-05-2009   #17
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Default One batch

at the LINK
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Old 10-05-2009   #18
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Default Afghan aspect

Within The Times report is this, not seen in the US reports on SWJ Blog:

Quote:
The insurgents seized at least 35 Afghan policemen whose fate last night remained unclear.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6860616.ece

I note all the reports refer to two outposts, one ANP and one US Army & ANA? Or were the ANP seized at the mosque? The ANP and ANA elsewhere have used local mosques for Friday prayers (IIRC Korengal Valley) and the attackers swarmed out of the mosque and village. Mmmm.

Not good for "Afghanisation" and recruitment, let alone retention.

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Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-05-2009 at 11:34 AM. Reason: Add link
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Old 10-05-2009   #19
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Here's some open source info I've gathered:

The action took place in and around the village of Kamdesh. Fob Keating is on the outskirts.

I read about two outposts as well. In addition to FOB Keating, there is a COP on the ridgeline above the village/FOB called Warheit. I've also read there was an ANP post in the village itself. It's not clear, but it looks like the ANP post in the village was overrun and then the enemy forces turned and attempted to take FOB Keating. 20-30 ANP are missing, presumably captured, but there's also the possibility some defected. It's also not clear where the US soldiers were killed - at the ANP post or at Keating.

It also appears the enemy forces utilized tactics commonly seen in this area and were able to use weather and good opsec to mass for the attack (something I think is similar to what happened at Wanat). I think Cavguy is completely correct that the initial reports may be understating several aspects of the attack. Keating was built a few years ago - it wasn't partially-built like Wanat.

As for Nuristan in general, it is, IMO, a high-risk, low-reward area for a COIN operation. It is one of the most isolated and backward areas in Afghanistan and one that has never felt much sway from any kind of central or outside authority. There isn't much gain for us there IMO.
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Old 10-05-2009   #20
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Foust gives an interesting insight on Nuristan and on the specific area where this occurred: http://www.registan.net/index.php/20...gs-are-pigs-2/
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