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Schofield Barracks soldiers in Afghanistan’s Kunar province near the Pakistan border are under frequent attack from insurgents.
Ten Schofield soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team have been killed in mountainous and rebellious Kunar — the site of some of the greatest U.S. losses in the 10-year war — since the unit’s 3,500 soldiers left in March.
Kunar province is a transit route for militants coming from Pakistan and the soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds" are a key force in maintaining security in the area.
They do so from places like Combat Outpost Pirtle King, where insurgents attacked Schofield troops Tuesday and Wednesday. CNN reporter Nick Paton Walsh is with a "Wolfhound" unit in Kunar and was there when insurgents attacked.
In a CNN report, Walsh said troops fired mortars and machine guns at Taliban in the hills before four U.S. airstrikes silenced enemy guns.
A solider was wounded in the attack, but the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Three Schofield soldiers were killed over the weekend in an offensive with Afghan troops to root out the Taliban in Kunar. 1st Lt. Dimitri A. Del Castillo, 24, of Tampa, Fla., and Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly, 26, of Menifee, Calif., were killed Saturday when enemy forces attacked their units with small-arms fire, the Pentagon said. On Sunday, Spc. Kevin J. Hilaman, 28, of Albany, Calif., also died from wounds suffered in an attack with small-arms fire.
The unit lost four soldiers last month when a roadside bomb near Pirtle King exploded.
"When I walked up to it there was a pair of legs leaned out crossed over that were hanging out of one of the doors," said Lt. Ryan Petersen, with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. "That’s always stuck with me. … If I ever think about it at night or ever dream about it, that’s the first thing that comes into my head."
"It’s nasty territory — it’s rocky, it’s dangerous, it’s on the Pakistan border — but our soldiers are making a difference there," Master Sgt. James Guzior, a 25th Infantry Division spokesman at Schofield, told the Star-Advertiser.
The 3rd Brigade operates in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces from fewer than 10 forward operating bases and multiple combat outposts.
CNN Afghanistan Crossroads blog: http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/