Scott T Nagorski
November 14, 2010
Killed in Kunar province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked their unit with small arms fire.
|From Milwaukeee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel jsonline.com
|Details given on deadly attack in Kunar province
By Heidi Vogt
The Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO on Nov. 18 released the first details on an insurgent attack that killed five U.S. soldiers, saying the Americans were trying to rout militants from a volatile valley in eastern Kunar province when they came under fire.
The area along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan has continued to see heavy fighting as NATO focuses most of its efforts on a troop surge in the south aimed at breaking Taliban strongholds there.
The five American soldiers who died Nov. 14 were “conducting clearing operations” when they came under fire in Watahpur valley, said Master Sgt. Brian Sipp, a spokesman for the international military alliance.
The soldiers are 27-year-old Spc. Scott Thomas Nagorski of Greenfield, Wis.; 25-year-old Spc. Jesse Adam Snow of Fairborn, Ohio; 26-year-old Spc. Nathan Edward Lillard of Knoxville, Tenn.; 31-year-old Spc. Shane Hasan Ahmed of Chesterfield, Mich.; and 19-year-old Pfc. Christian Michael Warriner of Mills River, N.C.
Sipp did not say how many troops were involved in the fight, nor provide an estimate of the number of attackers. The fighting started about 2 p.m. and lasted at least six hours, he said, with the wounded and the killed not being evacuated until late that evening.
All six deaths occurred during a four-day push called Operation Bulldog Bite to search out militants and weapons caches near the Pech river.
The area has long been a transit route for insurgents coming over from the Pakistan border and has proved a tricky area for U.S. forces trying to secure the mountainous terrain and coax villagers away from supporting the insurgents and criminals who control much of the area.
Watahpur is just 5 miles from the Korengal valley, where U.S. troops ceased operations seven months ago, saying that it was not strategically important. Forty-two Americans died in Korengal before the troops pulled out.
Operation Bulldog Bite has killed at least five insurgents, though there have been unconfirmed reports of as many as 49 insurgents killed, said Maj. Mary Constantino, a spokeswoman for U.S. forces in the area.
In addition, the forces found weapons caches containing mortar systems with rounds, more than a dozen rocket-propelled grenades, 20 anti-aircraft rounds
“Operation Bulldog Bite has degraded the insurgents’ ability to terrorize the people of the Pech valley,” Constantino said.
Three Afghan soldiers were also killed in the operation, said Gen. Khalilullah Zaiyi, the Kunar province police chief. He said about 30 insurgents were killed.
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