Combat Outpost Spera: ‘The Last Outpost’

Al Jazeera has a fascinating documentary on Afghan soldiers at Combat Outpost Spera, the base that was attacked by the Haqqani Network just two days ago (the attack failed miserably, see LWJ report, US troops defeat Haqqani Network assault on base in Khost for more details). At 44 minutes, it’s long, but well worth it. If time is limited, I recommend fast-forwarding to 28:40 into the video, and listening to the exchange between the Afghan Army commander and the Taliban, who are retreating into Waziristan.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Tags: ,


  • TMP says:

    Excellent report –

  • ArneFufkin says:

    I hope Musafa is okay. The documentary producers could have done a much better job of protecting his identity.

  • b says:

    It is me or the distorsion of the informant face is so bad that if the taliban have internet they are going to chop his head?
    Even by their clothes you could try to recognize him in such a pleace.

  • joey says:

    It just seems strange that al-Jazeera has a report of such striking detail and then there’s an attempted attack on the outpost.
    Also, there was an Al-Jazeera journalist captured in an ISAF raid recently – seems like Al-Jazeera is getting a little too close to the enemy these days…..

  • Bungo says:

    Great piece. Very eye-opening and educational. I like how both sides can talk to each other on the I-phone. it also re-affirms Pakistan’s duplicity in all this. I also like the Muslim’s fatalistic outlook on everything. If someone gets killed it was “God’s will”. It’s gonna be a Loooonnnnng War.

  • Max says:

    @b Exactly what I was thinking. The distortion definitely wasn’t covering anything really important about his face, and you know that the Taliban now have a good idea who he is and where to find him. May God protect him.

  • Max says:

    I wanted to add that these soldiers should have known better than to trust Al-Jazeera to film something as sensitive as their communications with an informant whose life was at stake. IMO Al-Jazeera is totally untrustworthy, since they are well known as a media outlet for Al-Queada.
    I hope that in future, any Al-Jazeera reporter is not trusted.

  • Charu says:

    Fascinating exchange! The reference to Musharraf is puzzling. Was this video shot while he was still in power or was it a generic reference to the Pakistani military leadership that most Afghans believe is behind the Taliban? The Afghan soldiers appeared to be non-Pashtun; Tajik or Uzbek perhaps?
    I am afraid that the war is as much a tribal conflict as it is one of religious ideology. A Iraqi-like solution needs to be considered where the Kurds and the Sunnis and Shia have relative autonomy in their areas. In Afghanistan, the Tajiks, Hazara, Uzbeks are the rough equivalent of the Kurds, and the Pashtuns the equivalent of the Iraqi Shia with Pakistan playing the mischievous role of Iran in stirring the pot – for nearly the same reason. The Iranians fear the Iraqi Shia because they are Arab and have the closer connection to the Shia Imams than the Persians do. The Pakistani Punjabis fear the Pashtuns will reunite and disembowel their control of Pakistan. Since the Pakistanis actively work to destabilize Afghanistan to preserve the status quo, at some point we may need to return the favor and build the Pashtuns as a counterweight to Pakistan. By giving the non-Pashtun ethnic tribes autonomy and the ability to develop in peace (like the Kurds) and compensating the Pashtuns loss in Afghanistan with a greater Pastunistan, and thereby a stake at preserving their culture from the machinations of the Pakistani Punjabis, there might finally be peace in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Punjabis would be the losers in this scenario, but this is what happens when one foments war and loses; like it happened for Imperial Japanese militarists or the Prussian Junkers.

  • greg-o says:

    You know, it seems that on the long spells between engagements, someone could be teaching the afgan army soldiers to read and write… There has to be an afgan interpreter there.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram