On Nov. 12, 2001, the Taliban fled Kabul amid a lightning advance by Northern Alliance forces and their U.S. Special Forces allies. The victory was a critical first step toward ensuring that Afghanistan would never again provide safe haven to terrorist groups plotting to kill Americans. And yet, 17 years and one MOAB later, 35 percent of the Afghan population lives beyond government control or influence — “a figure that has not changed in the past year,” according to the latest quarterly report from the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which covers the period from July 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018.
Army Special Forces is mourning the loss of Sgt. 1st Class Reymund R. Transfiguracion, 36, who died on Sunday after being wounded in an Aug. 7 improvised explosive device blast Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to 1st Special Forces Command.
Early in his unusual campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump laid out a simple, if inelegant, strategy for ridding the Middle East of the scourge of ISIS: “bomb the shit out of ‘em.” Now almost eight months into his presidency, the commander-in-chief is making good on his promise: The Air Force has deployed more munitions against terror groups in Afghanistan in August than any other month in the last five years, according to U.S. Central Command’s latest summary of U.S. airpower in the region.
I remember the exact moment I became convinced that Afghanistan was hopeless. I was an Army platoon medic deployed to a remote outpost in Kandahar, and there was a screaming toddler laid out on a stretcher before me. He had a deep gash across his forehead — the result of a fall, his father said — and, in the spirit of winning hearts and minds, it was my job to stitch him up. But the kid wouldn’t let me. We tried everything: candy, juice, a stuffed animal. The Afghan soldiers even took turns singing to him. Each attempt was met with only more screams and a flurry of little fists. The fear in his eyes when I tried to touch him made me acutely aware of my foreignness.