October 7th, 2009
06:01 PM ET

Harsh Afghan outposts raise serious challenges for U.S.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/06/afghanistan.rural.fighting/art.afghanlanding.jpg caption="CNN obtained this photo of a U.S. helicopter above Forward Operating Base Keating in the Nuristan province"]

Ed Hornick

Mountainous terrain and harsh weather in remote parts of Afghanistan have proven a deadly combination for the U.S. military in its push to reduce mounting violence in the country.

On Saturday, Taliban militants attacked American and Afghan troops in the Nuristan province in eastern Afghanistan. Eight American troops and two members of the Afghan national security forces were killed, according to the Pentagon.

It was the largest number of Americans killed by hostile action in a single day since July 13, 2008, when nine troops died, according to CNN records.

The fighting was so fierce that at one point U.S. forces "had to collapse in on themselves," a U.S. military official with knowledge of the latest intelligence reports on the incident told CNN. These revelations about the battle that engulfed Forward Operating Base Keating are a further indication of how pinned down and outmanned the troops were. Watch more on the attack in rural Afghanistan »

The base was scheduled to be closed in the next few days, CNN has learned. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, wanted to cede remote outposts and consolidate troops in more populated areas to better protect Afghan civilians.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Afghanistan • al Qaeda • Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Peter Bergen • Robert Gates • Taliban
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Rafael Zamora

    The Taliban and it's allies are starting to grow in strength and in numbers while we just become target practice. Obama has the tools and knowledge to make his decision. So why the long wait? It most likely is politics but Obama should realize that loosing American lives are not. The time to act is now.

    October 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  2. Barbara (Mesquite NV)

    Even I learned from the cowboys and Indian movies of years past that you don't make a stand with mountains on either side of you where the bad guys can shoot down at you.
    We don't need to lose anymore of our brave troops. Please, Mr. President, consider withdrawing from Afganistan completely.

    October 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  3. Mari

    President Obama END this senseless war! PLEASE!

    October 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm |