|Part of the War in Afghanistan (2001–present)|
Afghan National Army
|Commanders and leaders|
|Sheffield Ford III||Unknown|
17 (United States),|
|8 (AWD) or 200 (US Mil.)|
|Casualties and losses|
2 American soldiers killed,|
3 Afghan interpreters, Entire contingent of Afghan police
Operation Kaika was a joint operation between American Special Forces and Afghan National Army soldiers, to establish a control base as part of the larger Operation Mountain Thrust, and clear Taliban fighters from three villages about 12 miles southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan in June 2006.
The battle took an unexpected twist when Afghan forces "laid siege" to the American-supported troops, "convinced they had the Americans cornered", the militants spearheaded three large assaults over the course of three days. It became "one of the most sustained battles" of the war.
As the American-led force of 9 Special Forces soldiers, 8 regular American soldiers and 48 Afghan soldiers approached the villages to be "swept" for insurgents, they were surprised to find the Afghan militants had "sophisticated communications" and heavy weaponry awaiting their arrival - and were quickly surrounded.
Pinned down in the city, the Americans organised a team of 20 Afghan soldiers and several Special Forces to try and penetrate the surrounding teams of militants and make it through to the village's graveyard, where it was believed the militants were being commanded. The militants allowed the small splinter group to "escape" to the graveyard, where they discovered it had been a trap and they were surrounded.
American Sgt. Matthew Binney was wounded by machinegun fire, while Sgt. Joe Fuerst was hit by the shock of a rocket propelled grenade. The Afghan interpreter with them, dubbed "Jacob", then heard the militants yell out to him, explaining that they wanted to capture the Americans alive, and would allow him to leave unharmed. "Jacob" then radioed back to Ford's crew who were still pinned down in the village and requested permission to kill the two wounded Americans to prevent their capture. He was chastised, and Ford promised him that help was en route.
Now "desperate", American forces requested the Afghan policeforce send forces to back them up; but the police were intercepted and killed by the militant forces.
American airstrikes, including close support by AH-64 Apache helicopters, allowed the US and Afghan troops to escape while inflicting heavy losses on the Taliban.
Two US Army soldiers and approximately 120 insurgents were killed.
Ford, Maholic[clarification needed] and Hernandez were awarded the Silver Star for their actions in the battle, while Pastor, Lyles, Sanabria, and Aponte were awarded the Bronze Star with "V" device for valor. Brendan O'Connor, was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by the United States government for his actions during the operation.
- IBD Editorials, Capt. Ford's Drive to Victory in Afghanistan Archived 2009-06-03 at the Wayback Machine, January 18, 2008
- CBS, 60 Minutes
- Netzer, Jaime. Veterans of Foreign Wars, "Two Afghanistan Battles Demonstrate American Gallantry in Action"
- Maurer, "Soldier Shed Armor To Save Wounded"
- Maurer, Kevin, "Soldier Shed Armor To Save Wounded", Fayetteville Observer, April 20, 2008.
- CBS, "Green Berets Recount Deadly Taliban Ambush", 60 Minutes, April 20, 2008