The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor
In 2009, 53 U.S. troops battled 400 Taliban fighters in what was one of the deadliest battles of the war in Afghanistan. Stationed at Combat Outpost Keating in the valley of three mountains, the American soldiers were completely vulnerable to attack. A Pentagon investigation later revealed that they never should have been placed in such a dangerous position. With expert investigative reporting, Jake Tapper follows the troops from 2006 when they were first stationed at the outpost to 2009 when the battle was heroically, but desperately fought. He highlights two soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions. This is a heartbreaking read that focuses on one small piece of the war in Afghanistan but illuminates a larger picture of deadly mistakes and mismanagement.
At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war’s deadliest battles for U.S. forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere 14 miles from the Pakistan border, the U.S. abandoned and bombed the camp. A Pentagon investigation later concluded that there was no reason for Outpost Keating to have been there in the first place.
The Outpost is a tour de force of investigative journalism. Jake Tapper exposes the origins of this tragic and confounding story, exploring the history of the camp and detailing the stories of soldiers heroic and doomed, shadowed by the recklessness of their commanders in Washington, D.C. and a war built on constantly shifting sands.