Taliban Attack

What Was Behind the Taliban Attack on Camp Bastion?

Pool photo by John Stillwell

Last year's Taliban attack on Camp Bastion - just days after Prince Harry had arrived at the base - was only possible because commanders had become so obsessed with preventing attacks by Afghan soldiers within the base on allied soldiers that they dropped their guard when it cam to defending the perimiter.

The attack, by 15 Taliban suicide attackers caused "the biggest single loss of American air power since the Vietnam War," according to the Daily Telegraph.The paper quotes a "United States Marine Corps review of the attack" as discussed on National Public Radio.

The Telegraph says:

Eight AV–8B Harrier jets belonging to the US marines were destroyed or badly damaged, and two marines were killed as British and American forces took more than five hours to kill the attackers. A US Congressional staff member familiar with the unpublished review told the radio network that allied military officers "considered this kind of an attack a low probability". They had instead been focused on "insider attacks".

The attackers used the rolling desert terrain and a dry stream bed to cover their night time approach, and had been disguised in American uniforms.

Some guard towers around the base had been left unattended.

Marines had thought the attackers were friendly forces until they opened fire with assault rifles and rocket–propelled grenades to destroy aircraft, hangars and fuel tanks.