November 10, 2007

Ambush in Afghanistan

This report from Afghanistan caught Abu Muqawama's eye for all the wrong reasons.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Six U.S. troops and three Afghan soldiers died when insurgents ambushed their foot patrol in eastern Afghanistan, one of the deadliest attacks on American forces this year, officials said Saturday.

The troops were returning from a meeting with village elders Friday afternoon in Nuristan province when militants attacked them with rocket propelled grenades and gunfire, said Lt. Col. David Accetta.

"They were attacked from several enemy positions at the same time," said Accetta, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force and the U.S. military. "It was a complex ambush."

Eight more Americans and 11 Afghans were wounded. The 14 total U.S. casualties was the highest number of wounded and killed from a battle in Afghanistan this year, Accetta said.

Nine killed in an ambush on a light infantry patrol? 19 more wounded? That must have been one hell of an ambush. If Abu Muqawama is a senior commander on the ground in Afghanistan, this casualty report is going to set off all kinds of warning bells in his head. He's going to start with re-evaluating his estimate of the enemy's strength and disposition, that's for sure.

How big, Abu Muqawama wants to know, was the U.S./Afghan element in contact? How big was the enemy element? And can Abu Muqawama just point out that it's mid-November? It's freaking cold in eastern Afghanistan at night right now. So either this enemy -- whose numbers are probably not small -- is getting a lot of help from someone in the area who is providing him shelter or he's hard as nails. Probably both, actually.