The Army in Afghanistan is pulling out of the Korengal Valley. We’ve been there for pretty much the whole time we’ve been in Afghanistan, and had very little success in pacifying the area.
Writer and journalist Sebastian Junger, who spent much of 2007 and 2008 embedded with Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne in the Korengal, pens a farewell to the embattled six mile long valley in eastern Afghanistan. He worries about the emotional repercussions of the pullout on the many soldiers who fought there and saw their companions killed and maimed over a valley of “dubious strategic value.”
Of course, the Taliban are moving in right behind us, and claiming a major propaganda victory. And it IS a real propaganda victory. And propaganda is a real weapon in this war.
But the Korengal valley is a tiny, isolated area, and not one of the strategic keys to the kingdom. And the Army has done little there but suffer casualties out of proportion to the effort employed, and for no return. One presumes that McChrystal has decided that it is better to just excise this festering wound and employ those resources elsewhere, instead of just trying to prove a point.
But we should certainly not forget the incredibly valor of the many troops who fought so hard, and well, over the years, especially those of the 173rd Airborne Brigade.