American Troops Pullout of the Korengal, Taliban Move In

That was quick. ISAF announced U.S. troops were leaving the Korengal last week as part of a strategic "realignment" to concentrate available front line infantry on Afghanistan's more densely populated areas. Yesterday, the Taliban moved in and took possession of a pile of sandbags, Hesco barriers and litter in a remote mountain valley, according to this Al Jazeera video report.

The Korengal earned the sobriquet "valley of Death" because of the heavy fighting there that claimed the lives of 40 American troops over the last five years. Last October, insurgents nearly overran an isolated combat outpost located north of the Korengal, killing eight American and three Afghan soldiers.

According to the Al Jazeera video, the Taliban said they intend to use the base as a strategic bridgehead. This AP story quotes ISAF spokesman Maj. T.G. Taylor, saying that if insurgents try to stage out of the base, "we have two companies that can do an air assault there anytime we want."

-- Greg

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