Taliban provide some details on Camp Bastion attack

The Taliban have claimed credit for the well-executed suicide assault on Camp Bastion that killed two US Marines and resulted in the destruction of six US Marine Corps Harrier strike aircraft and three refueling stations, as well as two seriously damaged Harriers. Given the complexity of this assault, and its similarity to other attacks on major military installations in the region, I strongly suspect that the jihadist alliance that includes al Qaeda was behind this attack and worked in conjunction with the Taliban to carry it out.

On Sept. 15, the day after the attack, the Taliban released two statements, one which claimed credit for the attack, and another which purported to provide additional details of the attack. The statement claiming the attack was released in English; the other, which claimed to provide more detail (there is little) was released in Arabic and other languages, and has been translated by The SITE Intelligence Group. The interesting portion of the second statement is reproduced below.

The Taliban named two units that were involved in the attack: the “Khalid ibn al Walid group” and the “Omar bin al Khattab group.” Khalid ibn al Walid was a companion of the Prophet Mohammed and a renowned military commander; Omar bin al Khattab was also a companion and was the leader behind the expansion of the caliphate in the 700s.

At the outset, the martyrdom-seeking mujahideen entered according to a studied plan and military tactic into the center, and they had divided themselves into several groups.

The elements of the Khalid ibn al Walid group were commissioned to reach the barracks of the occupation soldiers and surprise them in their beds, and the elements of the Omar bin al Khattab group were tasked to reach the helipads and to target them and the military vehicles with heavy weapons.

The source added: At the beginning, the mujahideen used silenced weapons in the attack at the soldiers inside the barracks, where they killed and injured a number of them. The tactical battle lasted until midnight, until the commissioned groups arrived to their spots, then the heavy weapons fight started fiercely and big explosions took place.

It will be interesting to see if the Taliban release a video of the planning of the operation, as was done with the assault on Forward Operating Base Salerno. The Taliban released a Haqqani Network video documenting the attack. Some Arab fighters were seen in the video, and it was disclosed by jihadists that an Omani fighter was one of the members of the assault team.

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

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  • More Liberty says:

    There are several books about the tactics used by the Muj fighters and the Soviets during their occupation called “The Other Side of the Mountain.” It was a good read, although now it appears all too similar with a few exceptions.

  • John Meyers says:

    Just Questions . . . How was it possible for these groups to breach the outer perimeter? I assume there was layered perimeter defence too? I also thought we owned the night. Did the Taliban have night vision capability? I am astounded this type of mission enjoyed the degree of success it did. I understand all but one of the assult team were killed. I hope we have the surviver in custody. I think we need to turn him inside out to understand how it was possible to pull this mission off.

  • mike merlo says:

    @Bill R
    per chance were any of the 2 mentioned Force Multipliers known to frequent or to be ‘inhabiting’ the region/area where the assault took place? I’d be curious to know what this “military tactic” employed by the insurgents was that ‘allowed’ them to gain access “into the center?”

  • Cybrludite says:

    John Meyers, from what I’ve read, they got in by dressing, walking, and talking like US soldiers.

  • Šťoural says:

    They deleted VMA211-6 AV8B destroyed,2 damaged and killed CO VMA211 Lt. Col. Christopher Raible

  • Charley says:

    Readers here would not be surprised by the following item.
    Was Pakistan Behind the Camp Bastion Attack?


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