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US forces leave east Afghanistan area after deadly attack

US forces have withdrawn from a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan following last week's major battle there with the Taliban, NATO-led forces said today in Kabul.

The pullout was announced before the October 3 attack, but the assault has drawn fresh attention to a new US strategy to move troops out of remote areas and focus more on populated districts.

"It is the intent of the ISAF (NATO-led force) commander, US Army General Stanley McChrystal, to place an emphasis on protecting the people of Afghanistan by focusing on more populated areas," the NATO-led force said in a statement.

It said troops and equipment had been moved from the outpost in the Kamdesh district of northeastern Nuristan Province to other locations in eastern Afghanistan.

In the deadliest attack for US forces since a July 2008 battle in nearby Kunar, eight US soldiers were killed when Taliban fighters stormed remote outposts near the Pakistan border last week. At least two Afghan troops died in the firefight.

NATO forces said 100 insurgents were killed.

In the past, when US troops have left areas in dispute, the Taliban have launched attacks to display strength and lay claim to them.

This year has become by far the deadliest for Western forces in the eight-year war that followed the removal of the Taliban from power. More than 400 Western troops have died so far, more than in the entire period from 2001-05.

There are now more than 100,000 Western forces serving in Afghanistan, two-thirds of them American. McChrystal has submitted a request for tens of thousands more, arguing that without them he cannot implement his new strategy and the war will probably be lost.


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