25 Tons of Bombs Wipe Afghan Town Off Map
|2:42:44 AM, Saturday, January 22, 2011|
â€œAn American-led military unit pulverized an Afghan village in Kandaharâ€™s Arghandab River Valley in October, after it became overrun with Taliban insurgents. Itâ€™s hard to understand how turning an entire village into dust fits into Americaâ€™s counterinsurgency strategy â€” which supposedly prizes the local peopleâ€™s loyalty above all else.
But itâ€™s the latest indication that Gen. David Petraeus, the counterinsurgency icon, is prosecuting a frustrating war with surprising levels of violence. Some observers already fear a backlash brewing in the area.
Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate and Petraeus biographer, described the destruction of Tarok Kolache in a guest post for Tom Ricksâ€™ Foreign Policy blog. Or, at least, she described its aftermath: Nothing remains of Tarok Kolache after Lt. Col. David Flynn, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, made a fateful decision in October.
His men had come under relentless assault from homemade bombs emanating from the village, where a Taliban â€œintimidation campaign [chased] the villagers outâ€ to create a staging ground for attacking the task force. With multiple U.S. amputations the result of the Taliban hold over Tarok Kolache, Flynnâ€™s men were â€œterrified to go back into the pomegranate orchards to continue clearing [the area]; it seemed like certain death.â€
After two failed attempts at clearing the village resulted in U.S and Afghan casualties, Flynnâ€™s response was to take the village out. He ordered a mine-clearing line charge, using rocket-propelled explosives to create a path into the center of Tarok Kolache.
And that was for starters, Broadwell writes. Airstrikes from A-10s and B-1s combined with powerful ground-launched rockets on Oct. 6 to batter the village with â€œ49,200 lbs. of ordnanceâ€ â€” which she writes, resulted in â€œNO CIVCAS,â€ meaning no civilians deadâ€¦â€