In the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, the prime method of making a living was the logging of the Deodar Cedar tree. The Afghan national government banned the harvesting of this tree in 2006 which left the 5000 residences of the valley without a source of income. The United States Army comes along in 2006, and inserts itself into the valley in an attempt to secure the valley and stop the flow of insurgency and supplies from across the border in Pakistan. What results, is the subject of Sebastian Jungers book WAR and the movie Restrepo. And as if the images and ink don't convey the futility of going into a valley where stripped of their livelihood and manly pride, the men take up arms in a struggle that perhaps from their side, would look very similar to the fatalistic approach to war the men of outpost Restrepo exhibited.
The clashes along the Bozeman Trail in 1866 began in earnest with the building of forts along the Bozeman Trail. Within a few months, the Fetterman Massacre became the greatest loss of life for the United States forces in indian conflicts up to that time. For the next two years, Red Cloud's War raged until in 1868 the United State agreed to abandon and burn the forts and retreat back to Fort Laramie.
In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, the U.S. presence here came to an abrupt end.
A day earlier, Capt. Mark Moretti, the 28-year-old commander of American forces in the valley, walked two dozen Korengali elders around his base and told them that the United States was withdrawing. He showed the elders the battle-scarred barracks, a bullet-ridden crane, wheezing generators and a rubber bladder brimming with 6,000 gallons of fuel.
Moretti, the son of a West Point physics professor, and Shamshir Khan, a valley elder whose son had been jailed for killing two U.S. troops, sat together on a small wall near the base's helicopter pad. In keeping with local custom among friends, they held hands.
Moretti gently reminded Khan of the deal they had reached a few days earlier: If U.S. troops were allowed to leave peacefully, the Americans wouldn't destroy the base, the crane and the fuel. Khan assured him that the valley's fighters would honor the deal.