AUUSN 823 Posted January 28, 2015 Share Posted January 28, 2015 This is a fantastic article on the massive operation known as 'retrograde.' It is a huge cost of War that most overlook. "By the time we thought about leaving Afghanistan, we’d been tossing gear into the country for more than a decade. This is the story of how we moved out. By E.B. Boyd The convoy of army trucks, cranes, and flatbeds has been chugging its way under cover of darkness through the craggy mountains of eastern Afghanistan for hours. Now just a few miles from its destination, an outpost in the town of Chamkani, a stone’s throw from the border with Pakistan, the sun is beginning to uncloak the convoy’s movements. The gunners are swiveling back and forth atop armored trucks, searching the steep mountain walls for signs of an ambush. Combat engineers at the front of the line—the bomb hunters, known as sappers—scour the road for signs of IEDs. The soldiers are pretty sure they’re going to get hit. They just don’t know when. No one in this convoy is looking for a fight. They’re mostly logistics guys, the United Van Lines of the U.S. Army. Their mission is to pack up the last of the gear from Combat Outpost Chamkani so that the place can be handed over to the Afghan army. America’s longest war is over for U.S. troops for the most part. All these guys want to do is bug on out. Too bad the enemy around here doesn’t care. As long as there are Americans in the area, they’re going to keep hunting. When the Soviets tried to leave in the 1980s, the mujahideen trapped soldiers on narrow mountain roads just like this one and massacred them. Today’s insurgents have even more reason to attack. They’ve got PR points to score—every successful attack on the Americans moves them up the global jihadist scoreboard. The sappers halt the convoy. They want to reconnoiter a patch of road on foot, maybe peek into a culvert to see if the Taliban have left them a present. The soldiers further back are on guard. Military intelligence officers warned them there’s a fighter around here who can hit convoys from the mountainsides. A few months ago, he slammed a round into a truck belonging to another unit, slicing a soldier in two. Not moving like this, the soldiers are sitting ducks. As the sappers inspect the road, the gunners keep scanning the mountain walls. Not finding anything, the sappers climb back into their trucks. The soldiers up and down the column let out a collective breath as the trucks start rumbling forward again. And that’s when they get hit." http://www.fastcompany.com/3041147/getting-out-of-afghanistan#! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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