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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Afghanistan: Taliban filmed swarming over abandoned US base “Valley of Death”

Abandoned: Armed Taliban fighters are filmed on the former U.S. military mountain-top base Footage of Taliban fighters swarming a former U.S. military mountain-top base in Afghanistan has been aired on a major satellite TV station.
Just days after American forces withdrew from the Korengal Valley – which has seen some of the toughest fighting in the Afghan war – armed insurgents can be seen over-running the area.
The video, which was shown yesterday on Al-Jazeera television, will be seen as a morale boost for Taliban fighters – even though the U.S. insists the area has no strategic value.
American soldiers spent five years defending the base, which the U.S. dubbed the ‘Valley of Death’ after 42 servicemen were killed in battle.
Taliban fighters said they wanted to see how the troops lived – and collected the abandoned fuel and ammunition, which they say they will use against the U.S. who they have pledged to follow and fight.
The footage shows men walking through the former U.S. base, which was strewn with litter and empty bottles, and sitting atop sandbagged gun positions overlooking the steep hillsides and craggy landscape.
Locals also visited the site. One who was interviewed said: 'We don't want Americans, we don't want Germans or any other foreigner.
‘We don't want foreigners, we want peace. We want Taliban and Islam - we don't want anything else.’
But a U.S. military spokesman said ammunition had been evacuated and the fuel handed over to local residents.
Another man identified by Al-Jazeera as a local Taliban commander said the militants intended to use the base for attacks on U.S. forces.
Major TG Taylor, a spokesman for U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, said the Americans destroyed major firing positions and observation posts before they left, and if militants tried to use the base 'we have two companies that can do an air assault there anytime we want'.

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