NANGALAM, Afghanistan — Less than six months after mostly abandoning the deadly Pech Valley in what U.S. military officials dubbed a “realignment” of forces in eastern Afghanistan, the Army has begun rebuilding its presence in the heart of Kunar province. Since the start of the Afghan war, more than 100 American troops have been killed in mountainous terrain so treacherous that previous U.S. commanders openly questioned the need to secure such a remote region.
But in late July, the first wave of troops from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division arrived at Nangalam Base, formerly known as Forward Operating Base Blessing and once the hub of U.S. military operations in the valley.
By September, a company of soldiers from the division’s 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment will occupy the post, which was renamed after the U.S. turned it over to Afghan control in February. They will join an Afghanistan National Army battalion stationed at the base in the village of Nangalam, about 25 miles west of Asadabad, Kunar’s capital.