Dying in Vain in Afghanistan

Monday, February 08, 2010
Combat Outpost Keating

Eight American soldiers died last October trying to defend a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan that the military was already planning to give up. The troops were part of the 3rd Squadron of the 61st Cavalry Regiment stationed at Combat Outpost (COP) Keating located deep in a bowl in Nuristan Province. Surrounded by high ground, the outpost was vulnerable to attack, and by 2009, military commanders decided the location lacked any kind of “tactical or strategic value.”

But the military delayed its decision to pull out of the area, which only made matters worse. According to a military review of the October assault, “The delayed closing of COP Keating is important as it contributed to a mindset of imminent closure that served to impede improvements in force protection on the COP. There were inadequate measures taken by the chain of command, resulting in an attractive target for enemy fighters.”
In other words, the eight men died for a swath of ground that the military did not deem important enough to reinforce or make more secure.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Report: 'No Strategic Value' to Afghan Outpost Where 8 Died (by John Walcott and Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers)


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