Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON Three weeks after it took place, the only ground attack known to have been mounted by U.S. forces in Afghanistan is coming under criticism from some former special forces officers and military experts.

Some of the critics contend that the Oct. 19 raid, which struck an airfield and a residence of the Taliban”s leader in southern Afghanistan, misused stealthy special operations troops by deploying them as part of a noisy assault that also included a sizable force of U.S Army Rangers.

Others charge that U.S. commanders shouldn”t have risked the troops in an effort that with news leaks the night it happened and film footage afterward was primarily a show for the world news media.

But other experts and special forces veterans contend that although the mission captured neither Taliban leaders nor key documents, it was well executed and that the more important question is why there apparently have not been more like it.

Pentagon officials continue to strongly defend the operation.

Although they acknowledged earlier this week that 31 troops suffered injuries in the attack significantly more than initially reported they say the injuries were all minor and not a result of enemy resistance. Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the mission “flawless.”

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