LAOS GOVT VS VIETNAMESE GUERILLA
Also called: Secret War
Years: 1963-1973 | Est. deaths: 15 000
Published prior to 2013
The Secret War (1962-1975) was the Laos front of the Second Indochina War.
After the Geneva Conference established Laotian neutrality, North Vietnam continued to operate in southeastern Laos along the hidden Ho Chi Minh trail, which was barely inside Laotian territory. Deep inside an inpenetrable jungle, the Ho Chi Minh trail was designed for North Vietnamese troops to infiltrate South Vietnam and to aid the Viet Cong.
To disrupt these operations without direct military involvement, the United States Central Intelligence Agency trained a force of some thirty thousand Laotians, mostly local Hmong tribesmen, led by General Vang Pao, a Hmong military leader. This Secret Army, supported by Air America and the Royal Lao Air Force, fought the North Vietnamese, Viet Cong, and their Pathet Lao allies to a standstill, greatly aiding U.S. interests in the war.
Although the existence of the war was reported in the U.S., details were often unavailable due to official government denials that the war even existed. In fact, the Secret War was the largest U.S. covert operation prior to the Afghan-Soviet War, with areas held by the Pathet Lao subjected to some of the heaviest U.S.-led bombing since World War II.