Taliban launch futile attacks on US bases

Washington Post:

Insurgents disguised as American soldiers attacked two U.S. bases in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday morning and managed to breach the perimeter of one of them before being repelled, according to NATO and Afghan officials.

The assault began at about 4 a.m., when dozens of Taliban fighters, some wearing U.S. military uniforms, launched simultaneous attacks on Forward Operating Base Salerno, in Khost province, and nearby Forward Operating Base Chapman, where a suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees in December.

They fired mortars or rockets, along with grenades and guns, and two insurgents entered FOB Salerno by cutting a hole in a fence, NATO officials said. No Afghan or U.S. troops died in the assault, but four NATO troops and an Afghan policeman were wounded, and a 12-year-old Afghan boy was killed, according to Gen. Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, the police chief in Khost.

The response to the attack was swift and deadly. Afghan security forces, along with U.S. troops, killed about 15 insurgents at FOB Salerno and six more at FOB Chapman, while three others were killed by an airstrike after they were spotted fleeing the scene of the attacks, NATO said.

The attacks appeared to have been orchestrated by the Haqqani network, one of the most lethal Taliban factions, led by commander Sirajuddin Haqqani. His fighters operate primarily in eastern Afghanistan and have been responsible for violent attacks inside Kabul. NATO said a Haqqani network fighter named Mudasir was one of those killed in the assault on the bases.

These were PR attacks since the forces used were inadequate to take and hold the bases even if they had breached the perimeters. If any of the Taliban wearing US uniforms had been captured they would have been subject to being shot immediately as spies under the rules of land warfare.

That they tried to use the ruse shows you how weak the Taliban really are in their attempts to inflict casualties on US forces. They are having trouble getting close enough to do so and survive the attempt. In this case they also failed. The Haqqanis must be getting desperate.


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