Afghan Vignette 6: What “Unwinnable” Looks Like (2.0)

Posted on 7 October 2009 by


08/29/06 - U.S. Army Spc. David Mendez, of Alpha Company, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, scans ridgelines for possible enemy movement and rocket-propelled grenade positions at the Kamdesh Provincial Reconstruction Team Base in the Kunar province of Afghanistan Aug. 29, 2006. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Bem Minor). Source: Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aug2006_afghanistan.jpg]

08/29/06 - U.S. Army Spc. David Mendez, of Alpha Company, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, scans ridgelines for possible enemy movement and rocket-propelled grenade positions at the Kamdesh Provincial Reconstruction Team Base in the Kunar province of Afghanistan Aug. 29, 2006. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Bem Minor). [Source: Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aug2006_afghanistan.jpg

Where Even Nature Itself Seems to Rebel Against You

“three French soldiers died in a violent storm in northeastern Afghanistan late Saturday [Sept. 26, 2009]. One soldier was struck by lightning while two were swept away by a rain-swollen river during an operation in Kapisa province, said military spokesman Christophe Prazuck.” (read more)

Where Nature Blesses Your Enemy with the High Ground, and Preserves Memories of the Last Failed Empire

Hundreds of insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed a pair of remote outposts near the Pakistan border, killing eight U.S. soldiers and capturing more than 20 Afghan security troops in the deadliest assault against U.S. forces in more than a year, military officials said. (8 US troops killed in fierce Afghan fighting – AP, Oct. 5, 2009)

Ambushed in Afghanistan

Fighting Uphill in Afghanistan

When Despair Sets In

From: American troops in Afghanistan losing heart, say army chaplains – Times Online, 08 October, 2009.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.”

“We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here,” said Specialist Raquime Mercer, 20, whose closest friend was shot dead by a renegade Afghan policeman last Friday. “I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die.”

“The soldiers’ biggest question is: what can we do to make this war stop. Catch one person? Assault one objective? Soldiers want definite answers, other than to stop the Taleban, because that almost seems impossible. It’s hard to catch someone you can’t see,” said Specialist Mercer.

“It’s a very frustrating mission,” said Lieutenant Hjelmstad. “The average soldier sees a friend blown up and his instinct is to retaliate or believe it’s for something [worthwhile], but it’s not like other wars where your buddy died but they took the hill. There’s no tangible reward for the sacrifice. It’s hard to say Wardak is better than when we got here.”

“You give them all the humanitarian assistance that they want and they’re still going to lie to you. They’ll tell you there’s no Taleban anywhere in the area and as soon as you roll away, ten feet from their house, you get shot at again,” said Specialist Eric Petty, from Georgia.

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