(9AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Spec. Pedro A. Maldonado was killed by “insurgents” near the village of Kandalay in the Korengal Valley, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on October 29, 2010, and I did a sort of double-take about this story when I finally saw it yesterday, because…
After years of sustained fighting and casualties with little evident progress, the US military closed Korangal Outpost on April 14, 2010. Forty-two American service men died fighting in the Korangal and hundreds were wounded, primarily between the years of 2006 and 2009. Many Afghan soldiers died there as well, in part because they had poorer equipment. The valley has been dubbed “The Valley of Death” by American forces.
And I also wrote a bitter epitaph for our crazy mission in those killing fields the same day we abandoned our base there, more than seven months ago…
“More than 40 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and scores more wounded, in helicopter crashes, machine-gun attacks and grenade blasts in the Korengal Valley, a jagged sliver just six miles deep and a half-mile wide.”
“For U.S. commanders, the Korengal Valley offers a hard lesson in the limits of American power and goodwill in Afghanistan. U.S. troops arrived in 2005 to flush out al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. They stayed on the theory that the American presence drew insurgents away from areas where the United States had a better chance of fostering development. The troops were, in essence, bullet magnets. “
So now our “bullet magnets” are back in the Korengal Valley, and the bullets are flying!
We not only surrendered our base and retreated, we had to bribe the Taliban to let us get away!
And at the very end, we paid off the Taliban to permit us to run away in peace, for 6,000 gallons of fuel, and some rusty equipment.
“If U.S. troops were allowed to leave peacefully, the Americans wouldn’t destroy the base, the crane and the fuel. (Village chieftain Shamshir) Khan assured (Local US commander Captain Mark) Moretti that the valley’s fighters would honor the deal.”
And now we’re back in the Korengal Valley, and Spec. Pedro A. Maldonado died there, October 29, 2010.
He was 20 years old at the time of his death.