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Afghanistan war: US leaves remote outpost of Korengal

The remote Korengal Valley has been the scene of some the most intense fighting in the Afghanistan war. US troops have pulled out as part General McChrystal's counterinsurgency strategy.

In this Jan. 26 file photo, an Afghan youth carries a bundle of hay on his back as US Army soldiers pass by during a patrol in Kolack, a village at the mouth of the Korengal Valley, Kunar province, northeastern Afghanistan. US troops are pulling out of Afghanistan's perilous Korengal Valley, as part of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategy, on the grounds that they can be better used somewhere else.

Brennan Linsley/AP/File

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It became known as “Enemy Central,” a small, isolated slice of eastern Afghanistan synonymous with violence, a dogged adversary and, increasingly, futility. More than 40 US soldiers have died there after being drawn into battles of attrition for questionable return. In the worst such incident, 16 American troops on a special forces mission were killed when their helicopter crashed under enemy fire.

Now the last US troops have pulled out of the Korengal valley on the grounds that they can be better used somewhere else. “This repositioning, in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces, responds to the requirements of the new population-centric counterinsurgency strategy,” Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, joint commander of international forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement on NATO’s website. “The move does not prevent forces from rapidly responding, as necessary, to crises there in Korengal and in other parts of the region, as well.”

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