Special Forces, Afghans in 12-Hour Battle With Insurgents
Nuclear Posture Review stuff kept me from blogging this when the release went out during Secretary Gates’ press conference, but an initial report from the NATO command in Afghanistan describes an extraordinary effort in the northwestern Afghan province of Baghdis. Apparently about 50 insurgents ambushed a joint patrol of Afghan commandos and U.S. Special Operations Forces. A massive 12-hour battle ensued, leading to the deaths of what the NATO release calls “dozens of insurgents,” one Afghan commando and, reportedly, no Americans or Afghan civilians.
This sort of thing doesn’t happen every day:
In an effort to avoid civilian casualties, the combined team began clearing buildings and compounds the insurgents were firing from. During the clearing process, an intricate system of tunnels was discovered in addition to several large stockpiles of weapons,bomb-making materials and other equipment normally associated with terrorist activities.
While the partnered force provided medical treatment and transported wounded personnel from the area, an overwhelming number of insurgents continued to fire from cave entrances, various locations within the village and from high ground surrounding the area.
The release claims that the SOF troops got approval from local government sources, during combat, to call in airstrikes on insurgent positions. Allegedly no civilian casualties occurred.
First reports can often be wrong. And it was just this weekend that the NATO command in Afghanistan revealed that SOF elements were involved in the deaths of five Afghan civilians, including three women, after an initial official report claimed they had only killed insurgents. But this sounds so epic that we’ll surely find out soon if anything is incorrect.