Battle in the Evilest Place

After outfoxing al-Qaeda in a fire fight on the Afghan border, U.S. troops expect a new wave of bloody assaults

The American soldiers at the Shkin firebase in Afghanistan live precariously on the front line, a target for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters who launch frequent strikes from camps in nearby Pakistan. This border area is an unforgiving landscape of rocky hills and scrub pines where the enemy can nestle into position at close range while remaining invisible. When the soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division venture out in humvee patrols along dusty tracks they have dubbed Chevy, Pontiac and Camaro, they know how easily a hunter can become prey. As U.S. Army Colonel Rodney Davis puts it, "Shkin is the evilest...

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