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Thread: Taliban attack inside Camp Bastion

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Taliban attack inside Camp Bastion

    Added: Originally this post was within another, wider thread on Afghanistan, but now I feel that this audacious attack needs a separate thread as more information trickles out and I have moved previous posts to here.


    It has been interesting to read the reporting on this skilful, determined attack; in particular these two explanations:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-on-earth.html and the incisive Afghan analyst:http://afghanistananalysis.wordpress...-really-about/

    This attack is a weird reminder that the original SAS mission was to attack Rommel's airfields in North Africa, approaching from the desert.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-17-2012 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Add note
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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    It has been interesting to read the reporting on this skilful, determined attack; in particular these two explanations:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-on-earth.html and the incisive Afghan analyst:http://afghanistananalysis.wordpress...-really-about/

    This attack is a weird reminder that the original SAS mission was to attack Rommel's airfields in North Africa, approaching from the desert.
    I was thinking the same thing David. Sadler must be scratching his chin.

    I wonder what the visibility conditions were, besides it simply being dark. The fact that the enemy continued to observe the airfield and video ongoing aerial operations, while an a/c smouldered, is very bad.
    Last edited by jcustis; 09-16-2012 at 09:37 PM.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    I was thinking the same thing David. Sadler must be scratching his chin.

    I wonder what the visibility conditions were, besides it simply being dark. The fact that the enemy continued to observe the airfield and video ongoing aerial operations, while an a/c smouldered, is very bad.
    If you left off the dates and location, the attack on Bastion could have taken place in Vietnam. Sappers penetrate the perimeter and blow up some airplanes.

    When I was at my big base, my LSA was the first thing somebody getting through the wire would bump into. I used to think of things I read about the sappers of old and be relieved that it wasn't the VC or NVA who were out there. Looks like the Taliban & Co and the Pak Army/ISI are upping the game.

    Somebody speculated somewhere about where they got the layout of the base. Couldn't you get most all of what you need from Google Earth? And barring that, I suppose the Pak Army/ISI could get even more details of the base layout. I wonder if people on the inside would really be needed.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    If you left off the dates and location, the attack on Bastion could have taken place in Vietnam. Sappers penetrate the perimeter and blow up some airplanes.
    I guess we'll hear from Mr. J. Poole soon again.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Taliban attack inside Camp Bastion

    There is something very odd in this official statement by the UK Defence Secretary on the attack IMO - an amateur in a faraway armchair.

    I have added the text in italics and the emphasis
    ...securing a base with an area similar to that of Reading, was inevitably a struggle....troops on Friday night had to fight off a significant (fifteen men) Taliban force...Despite its extensive garrison, numerous fences and remote location....People living in several villages and settlement close to the base’s fence line have been told they must move “so that we will have a clearer field of fire,” Mr Hammond said.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...m-Taliban.html

    Until this attack all the reporting I've seen stressed Camp bastion was selected for being remote from the local population and the terrain enabled clear observations. Now we read of farmers cultivating maize nearby and villages are to be moved.

    Not to overlook the Taliban took a video of the base - not the attack - and it is in circulation on the web. The BBC tonight showed a tiny clip of helicopters amidst smoke. The attack was at 2200hrs and so in darkness:
    ..poor visibility wasn’t an issue Friday night. It was a low-light evening with little moonlight, but it isn’t clear if that played a role in the attack.
    I note that in the attack:
    ...killed two Marines, including the commanding officer of a Harrier squadron....Virtually all of the Marines working on the flight line at the time responded to the attack
    Link:http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news...aliban-091712/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-17-2012 at 10:42 PM.
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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    The Danger Room write-up states that the six Harriers destroyed in the attack amounted to 1/15th (6.7%) of the USMCís inventory of the aircraft. Is that indeed the case?
    If you donít read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. Ė Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Even if that stat is true, it probably shouldn't be talked about here.

    I hadn't heard about the squadron CO being killed before.

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    The short answer is yes. The usmc has 120 or so harrier airframes and it lost between 6 and 8. Thats 5-6.7%.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I amend my position. I thought the topic was airframes in AFG.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Reading what David has observed and what the Defence Minister said, I am drawing the conclusion that a base that has 21,000 people living on it has no idea about what is going on amongst the people who are living outside the wire. I conclude this by observing that they seem to be basing the security of the installation completely on physical things, high walls and remote location, and not on knowing what is happening out there. It is as if we can't even manage to 'ink spot' the area just outside a major base.

    Like David, I am a civilian far away but the big failure here seems to be one of local intel. Somebody had to looking at the base and putting things into place for some days prior to the attack and nobody detected it or had a local contact who was willing to tell them what was going on.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Reading what David has observed and what the Defence Minister said, I am drawing the conclusion that a base that has 21,000 people living on it has no idea about what is going on amongst the people who are living outside the wire. I conclude this by observing that they seem to be basing the security of the installation completely on physical things, high walls and remote location, and not on knowing what is happening out there. It is as if we can't even manage to 'ink spot' the area just outside a major base.

    Like David, I am a civilian far away but the big failure here seems to be one of local intel. Somebody had to looking at the base and putting things into place for some days prior to the attack and nobody detected it or had a local contact who was willing to tell them what was going on.
    Doesn't that assume the attackers were local or locally based?

    This sort of sophisticated attack seems much more like the work of a trained cell of guys who rehearsed and planned well. That is, more "professional" outsiders, maybe even from Pakistan or Iran, not a local group. Obviously we don't know anywhere near enough about what has happened to make a judgment on this yet. Very interested to hear what the one survivor has to say about where and how this attack originated.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Tequila:

    No, I don't think that assumes they were locally based. I imagine (just a guess) that if one of our units was planning a commando raid, they would do all their planning and rehersals (sic) far away and would only show up shortly before the attack commenced. I would further imagine (here is a civilian going way out on a limb) that there would have to be some local support to do some scoping and set up a local staging house or something but the local support wouldn't have to actually participate in the attack. In fact I would imagine you would want to keep the local support out of it because that kind of talent might be more rare than that of a well rehersed (sic) trigger puller.

    So as you suggest, I would bet that this was all set up and trained for, with massive ISI help, in Pakistan. But that there were some good agents, who may have been locals, or not, in the local area to support the effort.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    So as you suggest, I would bet that this was all set up and trained for, with massive ISI help, in Pakistan.
    I was wondering about that myself. Details are sketchy but this attack seems much better planned than a lot of the others.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Slap:

    That surviving attacker will tell them where he was trained and who trained them. If, as I suppose everybody is expecting, he says he was trained in Pakistan by ISI people, it will be fascinating, in a forensic bureaucratic sense, to see how the powers that be inside the beltway find a way to give the Pak Army/ISI a pass once again.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    The other possibility and a far more alarming one, is that the attackers were trained by ISAF. I do remember reading that they were wearing American uniforms, though that may not mean anything what with the wonders of the internet.

    Also if the real target was our dear Captain Wales, surely an argument for his immediate return home?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDB View Post
    Also if the real target was our dear Captain Wales, surely an argument for his immediate return home?
    Good to see you posting again.

    Its more than that isn't it. On his first tour as soon as the journalist blew his cover (an Australian IIRC) he was sent home.

    This time it was announced some time ago that he was scheduled for another tour... and blow me down if they don't announce his arrival to media fanfare.

    This deployment of royals is indeed a problem as your man Admiral Sandy Woodward - commander of the Falklands exercise - was quoted as saying after his experience with Prince Andrew:

    “To put a royal in the front line is quite inconvenient. You have to take special measures to make sure he doesn’t lose his life. That means you service his aircraft three times as carefully as anyone else’s. If something goes badly wrong, you’ll be blamed. So you protect the Royal Family from their own wish to serve. They are a liability on the front line.”
    Then there was the latest run-around with Prince William in the Falklands.

    Normally people learn from their mistakes... so what gives with the Brits on this?

    .

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Royals could also be employed as an asset.
    Imagine a real prince attending negotiations with some petty regional representatives.

    There might be some respect stuff to be exploited if the 19th century connection can be kept out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Good to see you posting again.

    Its more than that isn't it. On his first tour as soon as the journalist blew his cover (an Australian IIRC) he was sent home.

    This time it was announced some time ago that he was scheduled for another tour... and blow me down if they don't announce his arrival to media fanfare.

    This deployment of royals is indeed a problem as your man Admiral Sandy Woodward - commander of the Falklands exercise - was quoted as saying after his experience with Prince Andrew:



    Then there was the latest run-around with Prince William in the Falklands.

    Normally people learn from their mistakes... so what gives with the Brits on this?

    .
    Good to be back.

    It's an odd move, I can understand from his perspective that he wants to serve his country and he'd rather have a serious role rather than a ceremonial one. It's just a nice morale boost for the lads and something the Daily Mail and their ilk can trumpet on about.

    Rather cynical of me I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Royals could also be employed as an asset.
    Imagine a real prince attending negotiations with some petty regional representatives.

    There might be some respect stuff to be exploited if the 19th century connection can be kept out.
    I've got visions of him turning up and trying to teach the natives to play cricket.

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    Default The versa might be vice.

    Quote Originally Posted by TDB View Post
    I've got visions of him turning up and trying to teach the natives to play cricket.
    I don’t know, he seems the sort who might be up for some Buzkashi if his handlers were to allow it.
    If you donít read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. Ė Mark Twain (attributed)

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