For all the talk of scandal with the highest levels of US command these days let's remember. There are 68000. American men and women serving in Afghanistan. Tonight and every day for eleven years.... See More
For all the talk of scandal with the highest levels of US command these days let's remember. There are 68000. American men and women serving in Afghanistan. Tonight and every day for eleven years. They and thousands before them have done us proud. More than 2000 laying down their lives -- Jake Tapper remembers. On the day Jake's son was born our White House correspondent heard the story of other American -- -- one far off outpost in one terrible battle. And so Jake set out on a three year quest to bring us their story from the northeast regions of Afghanistan. For years the troops stationed at combat outpost Keating feared they were sitting ducks. Located the bottom of three steep mountains just fourteen miles from the Pakistan border views over the moment the -- -- -- and when the Taliban attack finally did happen in October 2009. Seeing here in this terrifying video posted much later. The 53 US troops there were horribly outnumbered by up to 400 enemy fighters Weaver. Alone and isolated. Air supporters too far away. That location. As indefensible so why was that doomed outpost put there why would the US military leave them so open to attack. Captain Ross -- off was an intelligence officer and one of the first soldiers assigned to Keating in 2006. We knew that there were some weapons and fighters and supplies moving across the border we knew we had to stem that flow. But. Who was there. What were they where they are Qaeda where they Taliban we have mixed reports. The outpost was placed near the road to monitor insurgent activity to be accessible to resupply since most of the helicopters were in Iraq. And to be close to local villages. Captain Matt Gooding the first long term commander account Keating says winning over locals was initially a near impossible feat -- they want. There are 90%. Did not want us there 10% did they think they knew who was trying to kill -- -- -- you do absolutely. But in those early days it was the terrain that would -- the toughest challenge. In November 2006 that road they were trying to improve and protect claimed the life of first lieutenant Ben Keating. For whom the outpost was later named when his truck overturned. Soon enough troops stopped using that road for resupply even though that was one of the main reasons the outpost had been put there. The US and that valley had successes and failures but by may 2009. Security there -- completely deteriorate. Christopher Cordoba was the top medical man for the last unit deployed to the -- they came in in the dead of night. -- -- -- -- -- -- Left your -- but what did you think when you look around at the -- Hard to believe that -- we were stationed in such indefensible position why -- the bottom lawless terrain on October 3 the attack that everyone knew would someday come. And we didn't. Special exact Pappas was in a guard post returning fire for hours on end. It was clear that this battle was like nothing they've ever experience. This was something. -- never heard before -- his brilliant hate to say that they where. Mortimer and Kevin Thompson ran out to return fire and was immediately killed he was the first of eight who -- that day. All of them killed in acts of bravery. Josh Kirk was firing at the hills when he was killed Michael screws are running into danger to deliver am ago. Josh Harding Chris Griffin were trying to help troops pinned down in a humvee. Justin -- Diego's Vernon -- and Stephan mace were also killed trying to help their fellow troops defied. Wasn't -- was not done with those -- And I don't -- -- -- and at one point insurgents infiltrated the camp. But with courage and air support the -- -- combat outpost -- beat the enemy -- Within days the US abandoned debates and -- to -- back to dust. The Pentagon later did its own investigation and admitted that at the time there was no tactical or strategic purpose for the -- At the end of the day was it worth -- do you think combat outpost Keating being there. I don't say it will worth an affiliate takes away from what we -- and it's a complicated answer -- it. I hate to say that we occupied of that area for three years and didn't accomplish nothing that. I hate to say that I hate to even think that it's a question that no laws that many of the survivors of the outpost and those who loved the ones who did not survive. For Nightline this is Jake Tapper in Washington. They hear us thanks to Jake -- -- the outpost in stores now.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.