COMBAT OUTPOST BOWRI THANA, KHOST, Afghanistan - Since taking over this volatile district on the border with Pakistan earlier this year, Charlie Company of the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment has come under a series of attacks from incoming rockets. One round hit just inside the small outpost, its shrapnel slicing off one soldier's hand and leaving him with a hole in his thigh. Another, on a different day, scored another hit, throwing one lieutenant off his feet and sending him hurling through the air.
"We took as many attacks -- four -- in a month as our predecessors did in one year. And they are hitting the base," says Capt. Christopher Smith.
The district of Gorbuz, in the south of Afghanistan's problematic Khost province, lies in the path of a major infiltration route across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Taliban fighters use the route to bring in weapons, ammunition and men from Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, where elements contesting the Afghan government and its Western allies are sheltered.