Barg-i Matal. It’s one of the most rugged, treacherous, and vertical districts in northeastern Afghanistan, largely walled off from the outside world by the Hindu Kush mountains.

Very, very few people live there, which makes one wonder how it was also the site for some of the most ferocious battles for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during the whole of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Calling in Close Air Support under “danger close” conditions was the norm; American troops were often running out of ammunition and hand grenades as they fought hundreds of both Taliban and foreign fighters.

It’s said the American soldiers were actually cheering aboard the helicopters when they finally got extracted–two and a half months into a four-day operation.

To give you an idea of what the battlespace looks like, we go back inside the cockpit of the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F-15E Strike Eagle. This particular clip, more homegrown FighterSweep awesomeness, ought to bring some perspective for when OEF veterans say things like, “The Hindu Kush are no joke!” The terrain is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, even with some of the epic low-levels we’ve shown you in Alaska and other places.

So buckle up and hold on! This one is a pretty wild ride!

(Featured photo by Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller/Released)