Soldiers in Laos who fought in the CIA's secret war are still in hiding

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They call themselves America’s forgotten soldiers.

Four decades after the Central Intelligence Agency hired thousands of jungle warriors to fight Communists on the western fringes of the Vietnam War, men who say they are veterans of that covert operation are isolated, hungry and periodically hunted by a Laotian Communist government still mistrustful of the men who sided with America.

“If I surrender, I will be punished,” said Xang Yang, a wiry 58-year-old still capable of crawling nimbly through thick bamboo underbrush. “They will never forgive me. I cannot live outside the jungle because I am a former American soldier.”

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