In a comment apparently reflecting Petraeus's concern, she said the unit "could not afford to lose momentum." Broadwell claimed the residents had abandoned the village when the Taliban "conducted an intimidation campaign to chase the villagers out."
After Afghanistan blogger Joshua Foust sharply criticized her lack of concern about the razing of Tarok Kolache, Broadwell wrote on her Facebook page, "I definitely have sympathy for the villagers who had been displaced, even though they made the judgment call to 'sell' the village to the Taliban."
Both those explanations were untrue, however. Former residents told IPS reporter Shah Noori in February that they had begun leaving their homes only in August when the Taliban began gearing up for an assault by U.S. troops by laying IEDs. They also said the Taliban had allowed residents to return to check on their houses, and to tend their gardens and orchards.
Broadwell repeated an ISAF claim that the compounds were booby-trapped, but residents insisted to Noori that only some compounds had explosives. Finally Broadwell claimed that the villagers who had lost their homes and gardens had told Petraeus and other visitors that "Flynn was their hero and they wanted him to move into the village with them."
Then she acknowledged that villagers were "pissed about the loss of their mud huts," adding cheerfully, "but that's why the BUILD story is important here."
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