Taliban video shows training and planning for Camp Bastion attack

A video of the Taliban fighters who are currently attacking Camp Bastion in Helmand province has been making the rounds in jihadist circles on the Internet. The fighting at Camp Bastion, which was the hub for British forces in Afghanistan until it was turned over to Afghan forces on Oct. 26, began on Nov. 27 and at the time of publishing this entry is still underway. [See LWJ report, Taliban assault Camp Bastion, storm foreign guest house in Kabul.]

The 8-minute, 27-second video shows photographs of the attackers, who are described as martyrs, as well as 10 fighters in training. Towards the end of the video, the fighters are standing over a sand table of the base and are given instructions on executing their assault.

While the video has not been released on official Taliban channels such as Voice of Jihad, Zabibullah Muhajid, one of the Taliban’s official spokesmen, wrote an article on the attack that included an image from the video [see screen shot]. Zabihullah also links to a segment of the video which is shown on Facebook; the footage includes the logo of Al Emara, the Taliban’s official media distribution arm. (Voice of Jihad has been offline all day and readers are redirected to “a snapshot of the site;” the most recently dated item is Nov. 26. Zabihullah’s article was released on an alternate Voice of Jihad website.)

Additionally, the video is very similar to a video released at the end of September 2012 that also showed Taliban fighters training to attack Camp Bastion earlier that month [see Threat Matrix report, Taliban release video of planning for Camp Bastion assault]. In that release, the Taliban fighters are shown training for the attack and at the end are given instructions on how to execute the operation via a map of the base that is drawn on a white board.

The full video of the current attack, reproduced above, was uploaded by a jihadist propaganda group that calls itself “Mehsud Media,” which is something of an unknown entity. Its name implies it is associated with the Mehsud branch of the Pakistani Taliban, however this has not been confirmed (the Mehsud branch officially split from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in mid-May due to a leadership dispute, see LWJ report, Discord dissolves Pakistani Taliban coalition). Mehsud Media started a Youtube account two months ago, and has since uploaded 14 videos on subjects such as the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and Pakistani military operations in the Khyber tribal agency.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Paul D says:

    Taken in Pakistan no doubt!

  • Scott says:

    Boy I’d love to offer these fine manjam wearing, bad music listening Talibs a nice 9-Line with a JDAM at the end of it. Merry Christmas boys!

  • irebukeu says:

    That is a terrible sand table. The one element this table sorely lacks is probably the most important thing-‘Scale’. Was that really an inflatable AWAC aircraft suspended from the roof, over the table? What will they do when they learn that the helicopters are not 10 feet from the fence like the sand table implies? I was looking for dice and a rule book- did not see them.


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