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Afghan War: Remote Base Sees Nonstop Battle


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Monday, December 6, 2010 — (ABC News: Politics) –


By MARTHA RADDATZ



KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Dec. 6, 2010





About 700 U.S. soldiers live at Camp Joyce, nestled along the Pakistan border.




As one of 140 U.S. combat outposts and forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan, it comes under constant fire by unseen enemies.



Army Major General John Campbell has 30,000 U.S. soldiers in the region trying to find them.



“We’re killing a lot of bad guys, but they are still regenerating here,” said Campbell, who leads the 101st Airborne Division.



He estimates his soldiers have killed or captured an astonishing 3,500 insurgents in the last four months, but says there are probably 7,000 or more still operating there.



The remote mountains that divide Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal area is some of the deadliest terrain in the world.



According to a counterinsurgency strategy where “clear, hold and build” formulates the recipe for success, areas out here are still very much in the first stage.



“I have some provinces, some districts that are very kinetic. We continue to drop bombs, we continue to fight every single day, we are doing zero governance and zero development in some of those districts,” Campbell said. “However, in other provinces where security is okay, he said, ‘we do governance, we do development…’ We are really focusing on the district reinforcement level so 160 districts inside of [Regional Command] East, every one of them is different.”



“We have pockets, unlike other parts of Afghanistan where you can go clear, hold and build, pretty symmetrically. Here it’s different. We have pockets of goodness. What we’re trying to do is get all of those pockets of goodness together,” he said.



Countrywide, the number of airstrikes is up a phenomenal 172 percent from the same period last year, with more than 4,600 bombs and Hellfire missiles launched.



Special operations raids have increased as well — more than 1,500 night raids in a 90-day period, with daytime raids numbering 17 a day.



But the Taliban is fighting back hard, and the soldiers at Camp Joyce see it every day.



“Lots of ambushes, things along those lines, a lot indirect fire, they stage themselves throughout the mountains here,” Sgt. Christian Gatison told us.



Megan DeVoy, a 21-year-old private first class with the Army Military Police has come under withering fire.



“We started taking fire from all angles, they had us in a 360, and all you can do at this point is locate the enemy and do what you can and eliminate them,” said DeVoy, who is just over five feet tall and barely a hundred pounds.



Complicating the fight is the difficulty of identifying the enemy.



“You have to worry about the people who are two-faced,” she said of local Afghan villagers in the region. “They are Taliban and they are trying to act as if they like us, and they’ll turn their back on you, and as soon as your snap your fingers, they’ll turn around, grab a weapon and shoot right back at you.”



To view the original article, click here: http://feeds.abcnews.com/click.phdo?i=f2726fe68ce0c60a458bf4b681e6e88e


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