The Marines of Darkhorse Battalion suffered a high rate of casualties during their seven-month deployment to southern Afghanistan. Their mission was to go after the Taliban in a place called Sangin — a crossroads of insurgency and drug trafficking. At the time, officials in the military and all the way up to the secretary of defense asked why the Darkhorse Battalion was taking so many casualties. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is reporting all week on the battalion. On Wednesday, he speaks with Guy Raz about the strategy in Sangin: whether the Marines made mistakes and what they did to reduce causalities and complete the mission.
When the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to Afghanistan, they left behind families who were desperate for information and grew frightened as the death toll grew. For 25 families, the news they received was the worst possible.
A year ago, the Marines of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment arrived in Sangin, a Taliban haven in southern Afghanistan, for a seven-month deployment. Known as "Darkhorse," the battalion sustained a higher casualty rate than any other Marine unit during the 10-year Afghan war.
Congress still bans women from serving in combat, but the U.S. Army has implemented Cultural Support Teams to foster dialogue between elite U.S. service women and Afghan women. The teams work closely with Rangers and Special Forces units during raids. Kevin Maurer recently wrote about the unit's purpose and tough selection process for The Washington Post Magazine. He speaks with host Michel Martin.
In Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Jason Morris led the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, which suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. The "Darkhorse Battalion" commander says the unit's mission was a success — but he will live with the burden of those deaths.
A suicide bomb in Kabul Saturday killed a dozen Americans, making this the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan's capital since the war began a decade ago. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz gets the latest from reporter Rod Nordland of the New York Times.
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