Outstanding war reporting: “Epic Border Battle a Bad Sign for Afghanistan.”

Sergeant Anthony Battles (center), Bravo Company , 1st Reconnaissance Battalion,…

Sergeant Anthony Battles (center), Bravo Company , 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Forward), engages the enemy during a firefight in Northern Trek Nawa, Afghanistan, Aug. 15. The Marines and sailors of B Company are currently conducting counter insurgency operations in.support of the International Security Assistance Force. Photographer: SSgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe.

Brett Capstick was in bed when it happened. The 22-year-old Army specialist from Ohio awoke to the sound of “screaming, explosions,” he says. It was around 1:20 in the morning on Oct. 30 at a tiny American outpost in Margah, a dusty border town in eastern Paktika province.

Capstick’s unit — Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry — had been in plenty of firefights and rocket attacks since arriving at Combat Outpost Margah in August. But as he reached the roof of the outpost’s main building, Capstick realized that this … well, this was different.

The rainy, overcast night was alive with tracers and explosions. The noise was apocalyptic. The battle raging on all sides of the soccer-field-size outpost and its adjacent hilltop observation post was “all-out,” Capstick says six months later. He’s sitting in one of the mouse-infested, concrete-and-plywood buildings where two platoons of infantry hunker between exhausting, hours-long foot patrols.

Please click here to read David Axe’s complete Wired article in its entirety.

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