Six days after the deadly battle in the Kamdish district in Nuristan, the US military has withdrawn from the two combat outposts that were attacked. From an ISAF press release:
ISAF forces have completed their repositioning from two combat outposts (Combat Outposts Keating and Fritsche) in Kamdesh district, Nuristan province, to other areas in eastern Afghanistan.
The two outposts were attacked by militants on Oct. 3 from multiple firing positions in the steep valley. ISAF forces on the ground assisted by close air support and attack helicopters fought the militants ultimately securing the outposts and killing an estimated 100 insurgents during the battle.
Despite Taliban claims, the movement of troops and equipment from the outposts are a part of a previously scheduled transfer. The remote outposts were established as part of a previous security strategy to stop or prevent the flow of militants into the region.
In line with General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency guidance to pursue a population-centric strategy, ISAF commanders decided last month to reposition forces from remote areas with smaller population densities to population centers within the region. Commanders developed plans for the repositioning; however, as in every conflict, plans’ timelines may shift to accommodate conditions on the ground and developing security priorities.
Commanders have not discussed specific movements before their completion to ensure the security of ISAF and Afghan forces as well as Afghan civilians in affected areas.
According to ABC News and the Coffeypot blog, Keating was nearly destroyed during the attack.
Make no mistake, the US withdrawal from these two outposts so quickly after the attack is a major propaganda victory for the Taliban, al Qaeda, and HIG. The withdrawal from the valley will also hand the terror groups an uncontested stretch of terrain that extends into their bases in Chitral in Pakistan.
The Taliban claimed they flew their flag in Kamdish earlier this week, which the US military later denied. If the Taliban didn’t fly it then, they will now. Wait for the videotape. This will be a victory the terror groups will savor all winter.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.