TAROK KOLACHE, Afghanistan — It took 50,000 pounds of American explosives to level Niaz Mohammad’s village.
The village had become a Taliban stronghold, a virtual factory for bombs that killed and maimed American soldiers. At the height of the US offensive in late 2010, commanders chose what they considered their best option: They approved an airstrike that flattened all the buildings in town, more than 40, including Mohammad’s home. Though no civilians were killed, the bombardment quickly became one of the most controversial attacks of the war in Afghanistan.
Three years later, the village is a sandy ruin, symbolizing the gains and losses of America’s longest war. The US Army has withdrawn, and the Taliban have mostly fled to other districts. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.