Special Forces Captain Jason Amerine was inserted into southern Afghanistan all the way back on October 11 to assist Hamid Karzai in building up Pashtun resistance to the Taliban in the region. The WaPo has an interview with Captain Amerine, who was injured when an American bomb hit a group of US and Afghan soldiers, killing three Americans and an undetermined number of Afghans. The interview is basically an account of how Karzai established himself after returning to Afghanistan, built up an army, and eventually retook Kandahar. The whole story is really fascinating.
The most gripping part of the story is his recounting of the battle for Tarin Kot:
Soon there was word of a challenge. “We got a warning that the Taliban had launched a massive group of people north who had left Kandahar to retake Tarin Kot,” said Amerine, who recalled becoming immediately edgy, particularly because the Afghans wanted to take time to eat before preparing for battle.
After US aircraft destroyed the convoy …
About 10 or 12 Taliban fighters were captured while maneuvering on the eastern side of the town. They later revealed that their orders were not only to retake the town but to slaughter some residents, including women and children, to make an example of the rebels. “We saved that town,” said Amerine, calling it his proudest moment.
“When we turned back that convoy, the high religious heads came over to Hamid’s headquarters . . . and said if the Americans weren’t here, we’d all be dead now,” Amerine recalled. “Basically from that point on, our relationship was solid with the Pashtun tribes. Hamid told me word spread all the way down to around Kandahar.”