Seven

Seven

by Michael Yon

Download the full article: Seven

American forces are stationed at bases far and wide around Afghanistan. Some bases are like towns, such as Camp Bastion, Kandahar Airfield, and Bagram Airfield. But mostly they are small, often occupied by only a handful of troops.

Logistics into Afghanistan is a nightmare, and it only gets worse after you cross the border from the north or from Pakistan. By comparison, Iraq "logs" was like a run to a convenience store down the road. Afghan logs are more like driving from Miami to Seattle for grocery shopping, and then driving the groceries back to Miami while under threat of attack. Not a speck of exaggeration in that statement. Enemy logs interdiction was a large constituent of the Soviet defeat, despite that the Soviet Union comprised the entire northern border of Afghanistan. When the Soviet hammer tried to crack the Afghan rock, the hammer shattered. The Soviets can easily put people in space and keep them there, but they couldn't handle backdoor logistics during their Afghan war. It's easier to keep people in space than to supply our war here.

Our Coalition is stunningly more effective at logistics than were the Soviets. For instance, when the British were resupplying small FOBs near Sangin last year—just a short drive from the origin at Camp Bastion—the monthly convoys were major operations that drained needed combat power, and still vehicles were destroyed with casualties. So powerful are some of the bombs that they can launch the ultra-armored American MRAPs into the air, flipping them like turtles, often breaking the backs of soldiers. Even today, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is making moves to facilitate allies to get more counter-IED gear, such as MRAPs, which seems like a good move because some allies are risk-averse to the point of being ineffective (not that MRAPs are going to save them). By air, when a civilian helicopter was trying to resupply at Sangin, it was shot down just outside the base, killing the crew and at least one child on the ground. Make no mistake: this is a worthy enemy.

Without the U.S. Air Force, we would need thousands more troops here just to run convoys, and bringing in those troops would require more convoys to supply their needs. It's okay to use contractors to bring supplies in from Pakistan or from the north, but driving up into those mountains and other remote locations would be suicidal.

Download the full article: Seven

Michael Yon is a former Green Beret who has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan since December 2004. No other reporter has spent as much time with combat troops in these two wars. Michael's dispatches from the frontlines have earned him the reputation as the premier independent combat journalist of his generation. His work is published at Michael Yon Online and has been featured on Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, ABC, FOX, as well as hundreds of other major media outlets all around the world.

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