The full extent of the Taliban’s audacious raid on Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck, a massive complex in southern Helmand province that serves as the main base for U.S. Marines and British forces only became clear on Sunday. It was a coordinated assault that destroyed six Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jump-jets and “significantly” damaged two others, as well as some hangars.
The Taliban also destroyed three refueling stations.
Harrier jets cost an inflation-adjusted $30 million to $40 million apiece when they were acquired in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Armed with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests, they organized into three teams and appeared “well-equipped, trained and rehearsed.”
According to the Coalition, the militants had penetrated one point of the perimeter fence. and the damage caused represents a major loss of combat
power – around half a Harrier squadron
To have pulled this off, reports suggest that the attack would have required advance scouting and perhaps inside assistance.
When the Taliban attempted a similar assault on Kandahar Air Field in 2010, they failed.
This attack is a powerful demonstration that they have learned from previous mistakes and are now able to penetrate a base’s defences.
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HELMAND – Two American soldiers were killed during a Taliban attack on the British base of Camp Bastion in Southern Afghanistan last night.
The assault involved between 18 and 20 fighters who used small arms, rockets and mortars to attack the perimeter of the British base.
Prince Harry was at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan during the attack and a Taliban spokesman said he was the target.
The Taliban spokesman had at first said that the attack was a response to a US-made film mocking Islam.
They released a video of the attack, a snatch of which is pictured above.
The Prince, who is third in line to the British throne, is celebrating his 28th birthday and is in Afghanistan for four months on his second tour of duty.
He was not in any danger during this unprecedented assault on one of the world’s busiest airports.
Several other Nato troops were wounded, whilst one Taliban fighter was caught alive and the rest killed.
Camp Bastion which is situated in the middle of the desert is extremely heavily fortified.
An MoD spokesman said this was a significant attack adding: “there has been some damage to equipment which is still being assessed.”
“After swift action by ISAF forces, including UK personnel, the incident was contained.”
Three hundred and thirty coalition soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan this year, of which 252 are from the US.
PROTESTS AGAINST FILM
1. US embassy in Cairo attacked, flag torn down and replaced with black Islamist banner
2. Mob attacks US consulate in Benghazi, US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed
3. Protesters break into the US embassy compound in Sanaa, Yemen, amid clashes with security forces
4. Sudanese protesters attack US, German and UK embassies in Khartoum and clash with police. Three killed
5. One person killed in Lebanon in protest at a KFC restaurant
6. Protesters in Tunis attack the US embassy, with a large fire reported and shots heard. Two killed
7. Riot police in Cairo clash with protesters near US embassy. One person killed