Afghan military welcomes expanded U.S. combat role as Taliban threat intensifies

The Washington Post reports: The 18 Afghan soldiers were trapped in a mountainous outpost about 50 miles south of the capital, running out of ammunition. Taliban insurgents had surrounded them. There was only one way out: the Americans.

So the Afghans made the call, and soon Apache attack helicopters, F-16 fighter jets and Predator drones were in the sky overhead. Not a single weapon was fired by U.S. forces, but their presence was enough to send the militants running for cover. That allowed the Afghan military to send in reinforcements.

“The Americans saved the lives of my soldiers,” said their brigade commander in recounting the incident, which he said happened two weeks ago. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. “They would have all died without the air support.”

The incident helps explains why Afghan military and police commanders in some of the most volatile areas of the country welcomed reports Saturday that the Obama administration plans to expand the U.S. military’s role here next year. [Continue reading…]

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