Pulling Out…Without Giving Up

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Yuri Kozyrev/ Noor for Time

Paratroopers from Bull Battery, 4-319 Airborne Field Artillery Battalion, carry machine guns from their combat vehicles after completing a patrol in Logar province.

LOGAR PROVINCE — Throughout history, one of the most difficult maneuvers to pull off in combat has been the fighting withdrawal. It’s an aspect of war that plagued battlefield commanders from Napoleon to Lee to Bradley. Getting into a fight is easy; getting out usually presents a challenge and particular dangers.

Every infantryman and combat soldier knows the concept of breaking contact. It is a battle drill practiced over and over: one part of the unit fights on while the other part pulls back, and in a carefully coordinated (though often chaotic) leapfrog, the soldiers extract themselves from harm’s way.

That’s how it has worked historically, at least, when armies met in uniforms on actual fields. After nearly every such battle, one could usually declare a winner and a loser. But today’s asymmetrical wars are messy, and for some time now, the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has shifted from a counterinsurgency fight to a partnership, preparing Afghan forces for when American troops go home.

Full dispatch here.

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As the U.S. troops pull out, will the Taliban move in?

Not in Logar -- they're already there. Logar is a major transit route for insurgents coming from Pakistan.

GlobalPost, Nov 26, 2012
Afghanistan: Another province goes to the Taliban

Logar, a strategic province that neighbors Kabul and is home to an all-important copper mine, is increasingly under Taliban control as NATO sources begin to withdraw.

PUL-I-ALAM, Afghanistan — The first sign of the Taliban's growing strength in Logar province comes on the main highway, where culverts have been blown up at regular intervals, each one an ideal place to hide a bomb aimed at passing military convoys.

Next, there is a police post made from a shipping container and surrounded by sandbags. It looks like it has been set on fire and abandoned.

But the definitive proof that the insurgents are in the ascendency here can be found among the residents. Those who are willing to be interviewed are happy to express their admiration for the Taliban, while many others are scared of talking to a journalist.


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