Images courtesy: Staff Sgt. Brian Lautenslager
As much of the United States is gripped by severe April weather, it is starting to seem like these storms are blowing in directly from Afghanistan. After ten announced American casualties in the past nine days, a terrible tragedy at North Kabul International Airport, the home of NATO Air Training Command Afghanistan, will lead to even more solemn knocks on the door for military families. When it rains, the old saying goes, it pours.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force said an Afghan military pilot opened fire on coalition troops during some sort of argument, leaving eight service members and a contractor dead. NATO, per its policy, has not identified the nationalities of the fallen, although numerous reports say all nine killed were Americans. We will wait for further information to be released by U.S. officials, as priority number one for the Pentagon during these tragic hours is making sure families of the fallen are properly notified.
With hundreds of missions going on in Afghanistan at this very moment, it's important to note that most news from the front is encouraging. Our brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines make incredible progress around the primitive, war-torn country on a daily basis, as the terrific accomplishments of Task Force Storm show us.
The 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division recently completed a six-day mission in the Baraki Barak District Logar province, parachuting into the war zone under cover of night. According to an article by Sgt. Cooper Cash, the dangerous mission, aimed at clearing weapons and hunting for insurgents and terrorists south of Kabul, went better than some previous efforts to secure the area.
“It’s been a rough area for any units who stayed in this area,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gabriel Temples.
Homemade explosive labs were destroyed, weapons caches seized, suspected terrorists were captured. Because of the sacrifices of our troops, village elders were able to hold a rare meeting to discuss issues and concerns, knowing that American and Afghan service members were nearby to protect them from murderous Taliban or al Qaeda terrorists.
Task Force Storm performed brilliantly, but with heavy hearts. Just ten days before the assault commenced, soldiers lost a brother in arms, Spc. Keith Buzinski, in combat. The 26-year-old Daytona Beach, Florida, soldier was killed when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire, according to the Pentagon.
“Sgt. Buzinski was the epitome of a soldier,” 1st Lt. Sean Cockrill said. “He loved his job, his fellow soldiers and his family. He is an inspiration to all of us and a true hero.”
The storms coming our way from Afghanistan are powerful and serious. Yet because of our valiant men and women in uniform, who shine as our nation's brightest stars, these dark clouds will someday pass.
Note: This post was updated at 11:48 a.m. EDT on April 27.