The mainstream media might have all but forgotten American forces fighting in Afghanistan, but the Islamic State group enemies haven’t had the luxury of forgetting they’re at war with the United States.
And their latest defeat at the hands of U.S. forces and Afghan allies just drove the message home again.
According to Stars and Stripes, a combined operation by the U.S. military and Afghan soldiers has captured an Islamic State group stronghold in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province that the Islamic State group was actually using as a local capital.
Suffice it to say, thanks to about 600 Green Berets and three companies of Afghan commandos, that’s no longer the case.
“This area, two months ago, was controlled by Daesh,” Brig. Gen. John W. Brennan Jr., commander of NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan, told Stars and Stripes on Saturday. (“Daesh” is an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group.)
“We pushed them into the mountains, so they cannot harm the people here.”
According to Reuters, the operation began near Deh Bala, the Islamic State group’s erstwhile “capital” along the Pakistan border, in April.
It was a key area for the terrorists for several reasons, Lt. Col. Josh Thiel, of the U.S. First Special Forces Group, told Reuters. Not only was it a conduit for Islamic State group materiel, it also served as a base for hitting the Afghan capital of Kabul or the large city of Jalalabad.
“This was one of the main green zones that did two things. One, it provided money, finance, logistics to ISIS and we’ve taken that away from them,” Thiel told Reuters on Saturday.
“Additionally, ISIS was using this as a site to prepare and move high-profile attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad.”
While most of the fighting took place in June, final mine clearance is being completed, Thiel told Reuters.
During several days of fighting in June, up to 167 Islamic State group fighters were killed and U.S. and Afghan forces captured a large amount of weaponry, according to Reuters.
No American or Afghan allied solders were killed, according to Stars and Stripes.
While even one American soldier’s death is too many, combat fatalities in 2018 in Afghanistan have been limited to three, according to The New York Times.
In 2017, there were 15 Americans killed in combat in Afghanistan, according to icasualties.org. Five of them were in the Nangarhar Province, where the Islamic State group’s “capital” was just taken, according to Stars and Stripes.
According to Stars and Stripes, about 400 families were driven from the region by the fighting, but will be able to return now that the situation is stabilized.
Unfortunately, some of the returning locals will include Taliban fighters, a local police commander told Stars and Stripes.
“All the people feel very happy about the elimination of ISIS,” he said. “As soon as ISIS is finished, the Taliban will come back. They were scared of ISIS.”
And that will likely mean a new enemy for U.S. forces to face off against.
The war in Afghanistan has been all but forgotten by the American mainstream media, likely because President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis are doing what they set out to do: Waging an unrelenting war on the United States’ enemies.
The media might have forgotten it, but the Islamic State group fighters in Afghanistan have just gotten another big, painful reminder.
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