Taliban release video of planning for Camp Bastion assault
26 September, 2012
WASHINGTON: The Taliban released a video clip that shows their fighters preparing for the Sept 14 suicide assault on Camp Bastion in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The video includes footage of a planning session in front of a whiteboard that has a map of the base; the video also shows two of the fighters delivering their wills. The al Qaeda organization and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee were likely involved in the attack, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.
The video clip was produced by Al Emera (the Emirate), the Taliban's media arm, and was released on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban's official propaganda website.
During the Sept 14 suicide assault on Camp Bastion, a 15-man Taliban team penetrated the perimeter at the airbase, destroyed six USMC Harriers and damaged two more, and killed the squadron commander and a sergeant.
Fourteen of the 15 members of the assault team were killed, while the last was wounded and captured. Camp Bastion is a sprawling military base shared by US Marines and British troops that is located in the middle of the Dashti Margo desert in Helmand province.
In the Taliban released video clip, several fighters are seen dressed in US Army digital combat fatigues. The faces of many of the members of the assault team are digitally blocked. Two members of the team provide their wills; one of them speaks in English.
The map details the fence and the locations of guard towers, aircraft shelters, helicopters, strike aircraft, and other buildings. The point selected by the Taliban for penetrating the perimeter is close to a series of hangars that they believed housed helicopters and aircraft.
During the assault, the Taliban penetrated the perimeter and broke into three teams, according to the International Security Assistance Force. Once inside the perimeter, the Taliban attacked the hangars, aircraft, and other buildings. In addition to destroying six Harriers and damaging two more, the Taliban attack teams managed to blow up three aircraft refueling stations and damage six aircraft hangars.
In the statement accompanying today's video, the Taliban claimed that the raid "resulted in the death of 47 invaders while more than 34 others were wounded," and said that "more than 11 enemy Harrier Jets and helicopters were also eliminated as well as a several fuel reserves and aircraft hangers completely destroyed."