“U.S. troops are pulling out of Afghanistan’s perilous Korengal Valley as part of a new focus on protecting population centers, NATO said Wednesday, ending a mission that saw some of the most intense fighting of the nearly nine-year American presence in the country.
The isolated mountainous region of caves and canyons on the eastern border with Pakistan has been the scene of near daily exchanges of fire between NATO and insurgents, who use it as a route for infiltrating weapons and fighters into Afghanistan.
While militants will likely portray the withdrawal as a defeat for foreign forces in Afghanistan, NATO termed the move a “realignment” resulting from changing strategies to deal with a Taliban-led insurgency that has strengthened and gripped once stable parts of the country.
The shift reflects new thinking among commanders that forces are best used to protect the civilian population rather than placed in scattered outposts highly exposed to militant activity and difficult to resupply and reinforce."
2010-04-14 19:37:24 UTC