Afghanistan: The Devils Keep Up the Heat

Army, March 2003 | Go to article overview

Afghanistan: The Devils Keep Up the Heat


SOUTHEASTERN AFGHANISTAN WITH THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION'S TASK FORCE DEVIL-The Adi Ghar Mountains glowed all night as American and coalition air power blasted caves and other suspected positions. The mountains rattled as planes dropped 49 joint direct attack munitions, which are "dumb" bombs outfitted with guidance systems, and B-52s let loose strings of bombs.

At least 18 enemy lay dead in the rubble of the initial engagements, and soldiers of Task Force (TF) Devil then began crawling into the caves and villages of the area to go after more in the largest combat operation in Afghanistan since last year's Operation Anaconda. This one is called Operation Mongoose, and if you think the war in Afghanistan is over, think again. It isn't.

TF Devil is built around the 82nd Airborne's 1st Brigade (504th Parachute Infantry Regiment-PIR), which earned the nickname "Devils in Baggy Pants" during World War II. TF Devil is leading the fight on the ground, and is supported by TF Saber, built around the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry, in the air.

A significant group of enemy fighters-possibly Taliban remnants, al Qaeda from across the Pakistan border or another set of Afghan fundamentalist militants called the HIG-are hiding in the Adi Ghar Mountains or villages in the area of southeastern Afghanistan near Spin Buldak, and they are being pursued.

In a nutshell, the battle kicked off like this: Special Forces (SF) soldiers raided a suspect compound, ran into a threat group, killed one fighter, wounded one and captured another.

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