Combat Outpost Keating: Near Destruction for American Troops
Details have finally been released about one of the deadliest battles of the ten year Afghanistan war. A battle that, in any sense of the word, was a Taliban victory. It was a battle that would see the US Army punish high ranking officers from captain to colonel for it to occur by placing soldiers in indefensible positions without support near the Pakistan border. A great sin for military officers who ought to know better.
On October 3, 2009, over 300 well armed Taliban, many with heavy weapons attacked the outpost surrounded by higher overlooking terrain ( the base is at the bottom of a steep ravine and helicopter is the only way out). Unprepared, although, the upper command levels knew of an enemy buildup weeks before, did little to prepare but sent such reports up the chain of command where there was "little response". Thus, nothing was prepared for B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry. The troop had about 30 men, thus the Taliban has 10-1 odds. Part of the problem, unknown to the Taliban, was the fact that US was in the process of closing the base and this was why no preparations were made, despite the buildup known weeks before. In fact, Troop B, was not even suppose to be there, it was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Taliban using infiltration and mass fire, inundated the US troop, which had only their rifles and mortars to respond with. Even several Afghan army troops were among the defenders, they act much like the South Vietnamese US trained army back in the 60'-70's. They ran and hid in secured places, none had their weapons ready to fire, some even were hiding under blankets. When confronted, they refused to fight. As one US soldier said, "they are fucking worthless". Echoes of the Vietnam war over and over and over.
Of the 30 men, eight were killed and all of the others suffered from various wounds. Three days after it, the based was closed. A tribute to the waste of war that families never recover from and for what?
Lofty thoughts of democracy in a land of tribal warfare controlled by Pakistan?