(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Insurgents overran a district in eastern Afghanistan overnight Tuesday after police officers fled without firing a shot.
The Waygal district police chief says about 300 insurgents -- Afghan, Punjabi, Arab and Chechen -- arrived in the dead of night and the 100 police officers in the district center didn’t put up any resistance, fearing for their lives and knowing they didn’t have enough ammunition to take on such a large force.
Waygal in Nuristan province is the same district where nine U.S. soldiers were killed and 27 wounded when insurgents broke through the front lines of their small base in Wanat in July, 2008.
While insurgent activity is common in this remote part of the country, the Taliban do not often seize district centers. The last time that happened was spring 2010, when insurgents seized the Barg-i-Matal district center, just north of Waygal, in the months after U.S. troops left the district. Special forces were dispatched to run the insurgents away after Gen. Stanley McChrystal came under intense public and private pressure.
There aren’t many people living in Nuristan province and therefore, all U.S. troops have been removed under McChrystal and Petraeus. But the Afghan police are still not capable of defending themselves from large insurgent operations. There are also no U.S. troops in the district directly to the south – the Pech River Valley, which soldiers left in the last few months for more populated areas.
About 100 miles to the south, Pakistani paramilitary troops were returning from a routine mission when they were ambushed near the Afghan border in Khyber agency, just outside of Peshawar. During the fight, two Pakistani army officers and 11 paramilitary soldiers were killed in a friendly fire incident when a mortar landed short of its target, according to a military official. It was the deadliest incident for the Pakistani military along the Afghan border in almost two years.
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