This Sunday, keep these troops — and all our men and women serving in uniform — in your thoughts and prayers (via the Washington Post):
Firing rockets and rifles, Taliban militiamen attacked American and Afghan military outposts in a daylong siege on Saturday that killed eight U.S. soldiers and two Afghan security forces in one of the deadliest battles in months, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.
The fighting began early Saturday morning and raged throughout the day in a remote region of eastern Afghanistan in Nurestan province, which borders Pakistan. Staging their attack from steep mountainsides that overlook the outposts in the valley below, on a morning when weather made visibility poor, the Taliban fighters attacked the small American and Afghan bases using rifles, machine guns, grenades and rockets, according to U.S. military officials.
By Sunday morning, when the U.S. military made the attack public in a statement, the area was “largely secure but I do think there is still some activity,” said Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, a U.S. military spokeswoman.
In addition to the eight soldiers killed, several others were injured, Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, but he did not specify the number. The American soldiers called in ground reinforcements, along with attack helicopter, airplanes and surveillance drones during the fighting. U.S. forces eventually repelled the attack while inflicting “a significant amount of casualties” on insurgents, Smith said.
Due to the “very challenging terrain,” the insurgents had “pretty effective firing positions,” Smith said. “It was obviously a very, very difficult day.”
…The U.S. military said it was not immediately clear how many insurgents were involved in the fighting. The attack involved Taliban fighters and appeared to be led by a local commander of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin insurgent group, which is run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former mujaheddin leader during the Soviet war in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
The attack took place in a sparsely populated area of forested mountains near the town of Kamdeysh. The deputy police chief of Nurestan province, Mohammad Farouq, said the insurgents intended to seize control of the Kamdeysh area and that hundreds took part in the fighting. He said more than 20 Afghan soldiers and police have gone missing since the fighting began and may have been taken hostage.
Thanks to all of you who gave generously to Lt. Daniel Cnossen’s support fund last week. Lt. Cnossen lost both legs while on a mission in Kandahar and is recovering at NNMC Bethesda — where he recently received both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor. I heard from LT Brian Ray, his best friend and website administrator, who e-mailed that “directly through your link we were able to raise enough money to move Dan’s mom and sister into an apartment to be near him during his recovery.”
A reminder that you can contribute right here.