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A platoon awaits end of Afghan war

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JAGHATU, Afghanistan — The platoon sergeant poses a simple question to the men of 3rd Platoon: “What do you consider success on a mission?”

There is an uneasy silence in the dark chow tent. In a few months, the U.S. Army will bulldoze its portion of the base, part of America’s slow withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan. All that will remain here in this isolated place is a small Afghan army camp and a mostly empty government building with a mortar hole in its roof, the sum total of 11 years of U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in this district 65 miles south of Kabul.

Sgt. Gary M. Waugh, a soldier on his second Afghan tour, takes a stab at answering the question. “Us not doing a thing,” he says. “Not firing our weapon.”

A few of the soldiers rest their chins on the butts of their rifles. A diesel generator drones in the background as the platoon sergeant surveys his men.

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Bet they can't wait for it to get out of there.

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