In an amazing but sad story that has left 2 U.S. Marines dead and 6 AV-8B Harriers out of service after extensive damage. The Taliban attacked a mutli-national base in Afghanistan dressed in US army uniform. [16/09/2012] The main base in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion, that houses a garrison of 11,000-12,000 multi-national forces came under attack last Friday
However, this was no normal attack, it was sophisticated and well planned.
This is the statement that ISAF released on their website:
“The attack commenced just after 10 p.m. when approximately 15 insurgents executed a well-coordinated attack against the airfield on Camp Bastion. The insurgents, organized into three teams, penetrated at one point of the perimeter fence.”
The most significant, or what I believe to be the most significant thing the insurgents dressed as US soldiers. They managed to somehow pull it off and we assume that they got very close to aircraft on the runway or in their respective hangers.
“Dressed in U.S. Army uniforms and armed with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests, the insurgents attacked Coalition fixed and rotary wing aircraft parked on the flight line, aircraft hangars and other buildings.”
They must have come pretty damn close to achieving their objectives as this strikes a huge blow for ISAF forces in Afghanistan. Channel 4 in an interview with a Taliban spokesperson stated that the attacks were intended to target Prince Harry, who serves as an Apache helicopter pilot in Camp Bastion. He also mentioned the attacks were in response to the same video which prompted the rioting in Egypt & Libya around US embassies and consulates, that happened to kill an ambassador and diplomatic entities.
According to what we’ve learned, the attack started at around 10 pm Friday and continued till Saturday morning.
ISAF later sent out a statement, that 14 out of the 15 that attacked the base were killed whilst the last insurgent was captured. In total, 2 Coalition troops were killed, 9 ISAF personnel (inc. Private contractors) were wounded, 6 AV-8B Harriers were destroyed, 2 significantly damaged, three refueling stations damaged, and six soft skin hangers were also damaged.
The day after the first attack occurred by Taliban dressed as US Marines, 4 US troops were killed on Saturday by Afghan policeman who are thought to have defected. According to the BBC this brings the total of deaths by insiders to 51 this year.
The Guardian has also reported that 2 British soldiers have also been killed when they came to the aid of a Afghan National Police officer who was thought to be wounded after he had bandaged his leg up. As the British soldiers approached, he pulled out a pistol and shot two British troops.
It doesn’t take a military professional to tell you these situations are incredibly bad for the situation in Afghanistan right now, especially as the US has indicated a total withdrawal along with the UK by 2014. It brings into question whether or not Prince Harry should even be serving in such a volatile country when the Taliban forces are willing to do anything to reach a blow to ISAF forces. – Prince Harry, in this case at least, is the icing on the cake and it’s very likely a bad idea he is in Afghanistan at-all; purely based on the safety of others. While you cannot attribute these attacks solely on Prince Harry, it’s better playing safe than sorry especially under these conditions.
Not to downplay the cost of life here, however the cost of the Harriers average around $30 millon each. With six lost that will cost ISAF $180 million to replace. Not bad, for the work of 15 men dressed up as U.S. Marines.
One has to question the security of the base, how easily it was compromised, and enabled 15 men to walk in and do so much damage. I’m sure ISAF/US/UK forces will be reviewing how they protect their own bases, but they are supposed to be on the ball when it comes this and unfortunately this is the priced paid when they are not.