Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Good News and Bad News

The deteriorating Afghan government position in Helmand province led me to call for an effort to relieve the Taliban siege of Marjah and turn back the Taliban advance.

The good news is that we are trying to save Marjah. The bad news is that our special forces are stuck in that outpost under siege:

One member of the U.S. armed forces was killed and two others were wounded on Tuesday in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, the site of fierce fighting between Taliban insurgents and American-backed Afghan government forces, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. troops came under fire in the town of Marjah while accompanying Afghan special operations forces, and a U.S. helicopter was damaged in the incident, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. Afghan troops also were injured in the fighting, Cook added. ...

"My understanding is that there may still be Americans on the ground in this immediate situation engaging with the enemy in support of Afghan forces," Cook said. "This is a fluid situation."

I'm not sure how much air power we have in range, but it had best be stacked up to take turns hammering the besiegers.

Pity our carrier in the region is foolishly in the Persian Gulf rather than in the Arabian Sea.

Losing a whole bunch of American special forces in a ground defeat would tend to discredit the whole "responsibly ending the Afghan War" line that comes out of Washington, DC, these days.

I wonder what the theater ground reserve is in CENTCOM these days? I assume we have a Marine battalion-sized force in the region afloat. (Ah yes, Kearsarge is in the region.)

UPDATE: Television news reported that a quick reaction (ground) force made it to Marjah to evacuate our casualties. Our troops are still on the ground with the Afghan defenders.

Status of a relief force from outside is unknown (to me).