Unprecedented Afghan base losses put NATO on defensive
18 September, 2012
KABUL: NATO was forced onto the defensive on Monday over a humiliating attack on one of its most heavily guarded bases in Afghanistan that destroyed six US fighter jets in unprecedented damage in the 10-year war.
At a weekly press conference given by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at its closely guarded headquarters, chief spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz was pressed on Friday night's assault.
ISAF says it is still investigating how Taliban commandos, armed with suicide vests, guns and rockets and wearing US uniforms, breached the perimeter wall of Camp Bastion, in the southern province of Helmand. The vast base – where Prince Harry is deployed – was deliberately built in the middle of the desert to have a vantage point. The cost of the damage runs to tens of millions of dollars.
"Yes, we assess that this attack was well-organised, well-equipped and destroyed six Harrier jets, they damaged two additional Harrier jets and they destroyed buildings, they killed two US Marines, but we must not forget out of those 15 attackers, we killed 14 and captured one," Katz told AFP.
He conceded that ISAF would learn lessons from the attack on Camp Bastion and adopt force protection measures accordingly, but declined to go into detail.