Kabul Suicide Attack Kills Foreign Guards in Buffer Between Afghans and Americans
On the surface, today’s suicide attack in Kabul looks like many others, but some details disclosed in the New York Times story on the attack illustrate the lengths to which the US has been forced to go to protect against green on blue attacks in which Afghans kill Americans. The attack took place at Camp Gibson. Those killed were described by the Times as guarding buildings occupied by trainers from Dyncorp at a facility dedicated to counternarcotics operations. Three guards who were killed were from Nepal and one was from Peru, according to the Times. The Washington Post says two were Nepalese, one was Filipino and one was of unknown nationality. The Times explains why there are both Afghan and foreign guards:
Security guards from countries like Nepal and Peru are common at foreign military and diplomatic compounds in Afghanistan. The guards, many of whom are Nepalese veterans of the British Army’s Gurkha regiments, usually provide a layer of security behind the Afghan police and security guards, who man the first line of checkpoints.
The setup is used because of deep concerns about the efficacy and loyalty of the police, a force that is riddled with corruption and drug use. It also provides a final layer of defense should Afghan guards turn on the foreigners they are guarding.
So the outside layer of security consists of Afghan personnel, but the US must use a ring of foreign security personnel to protect against the Afghans turning their weapons on the US personnel they are “guarding”. And it appears that the Afghan who carried out this attack had some help among his fellows in that outside ring of security. The attacker was Afghan, but the uniform he wore matched those of the foreign guards rather than Afghans:
An official from the NATO-led military coalition said there were suspicions that the attacker had inside help. An Afghan in a uniform worn by foreign guards would “strike me as more suspicious, not less, right?” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing his Afghan counterparts.
The Times article points out that previous attacks aimed at US personnel have killed only foreign guards, so this layered security situation likely has been described before, but I didn’t have a full appreciation of how and why it is set up in this way until today.
An interesting detail offered by ToloNews is that the attacker was not new to the facility:
On condition of anonymity a security official said that the suicide bomber was an Afghan security guard working alongside foreign contractors.
“The suicide bomber was an Afghan security guard working alongside foreigners at the anti-narcotics office for many years,” said the security official.
It would be interesting to know whether the attacker had planned all along to carry out such an attack or if he only recently decided to switch sides.
Meanwhile, the “auditing” of ballots from the runoff is proceeding much more slowly than the target rate, so look for more delays before a “final” vote count is released.
The 9,800 troops which the US plans to station in Afghanistan, to control 30 million people, will be in dire danger, hunkered down behind the wire and unable to do anything except attempt to stay alive. What a plan. But that’s politics.
In any other life pursuit, if you found you had to go that far afield from your original plan just to hold your ground, much less advance toward your goal, you’d realize that the plan was lousy and, likely, ultimately fruitless. Can’t they see that here?
“… deep concerns about the efficacy and loyalty of the police, a force that is riddled with corruption and drug use…”
It’s the ones who don’t use drugs and who are not corrupt that they worry about: the druggies and corrupted will be on-side.
Don Bacon has it right: a Sicilian Vespers is what looms for the PBI left behind.
The Pentagon is asking for $53 billion for Afghanistan “contingency” (war) funds. Here’s DepSec Work on how some of that $53B will be spent:
That’s baloney. The situation in Afghanistan is quite different, especially in Helmand Province, the traditional Taliban base and the principal focus of the Obama surge.
Dec 10, 2012
Helmand districts still Afghanistan’s most violent: report
Feb 4, 2013
Afghanistan was ‘safer’ before UK troops arrived
Mar 3, 2013
Helmand’s Remarkable Security Gains Remain Fragile
Apr 23, 2013
Despite Gains Against Taliban, Helmand Residents Feel Insecure
Jan 6, 2014
Taliban to ‘take control of Helmand’ once UK troops leave
Apr 11, 2014
Afghanistan: Little progress, or hope, in Helmand
Dozens Killed and Thousands Displaced in Helmand Clash
Taliban surges in Sangin as Marines withdraw
Afghan forces face Taliban onslaught after US Marines depart
Taliban Mount Major Assault in Afghanistan
Jun 29, 2014
Taliban hold territory after Afghan offensive
The bloody betrayal: Intelligence emails reveal Taliban have taken back Afghan strongholds that 150 of our boys died for (UK)
Helmand police chief dismissed due to deadly Taliban attack
Jul 14, 2014
Afghanistan and the Growing Risks in Transition
By Anthony H. Cordesman
The new US Commander in Afghanistan, the 16th ISAF commander, will probably be Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell. So I know the big question on a lot of minds is — did he, like many others, ever say Afghanistan was at a turning point? Yes he did.
May 9, 2011: MajGen John Campbell, CG 101st Div: “But I really do think that as people look back, and they’ll say 2010 was the year in Afghanistan. It’s the year that we finally put more resources in here. We had the right leadership, the right strategy. And I think that was a turning point.”
There were many turning pints before that, for example:
* September 12, 2006: “The Afghan front is at a critical turning point that imperils many of the hard-fought successes of the early phase of the conflict and the prospects for snaring bin Laden.”
* September 22, 2005: “Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s foreign minister, called the recent parliamentary elections ‘a major turning point‘ on his country’s path to democracy.”
* January 27, 2004: “A statement from U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad called the enactment of the constitution a ‘turning point for the Afghan nation.’”
And many turning points after that, most recently:
*Jun 16, 2014: Dunford: The next several weeks will be important.
*May 2, 2014: Dempsey Calls Election ‘Turning Point’ for Afghan Forces
*Mar 27, 2014: Obama: 2014, therefore, is a pivotal year
*Apr 5, 2014: Gateway House: Afghanistan: At a Turning Point
*Apr 2, 2014: Kerry called the elections “a pivotal moment after more than a decade of sacrifice and struggle.”
*Nov 15, 2013: Hillary Clinton: ‘Turning point’ for Afghan women
Bring on more turning points!
Hey, Don. I’ll see your Orwellian “turning point” miltitary jargon-babble and raise you with:
The Tipping Point Turns the Corner.
I got so tired of hearing this mindless military mumbo jumbo in Vietnam that, ever since, I’ve made it my business to collect these meaningless noises and put them into declarative sentences to summarize for me what complete and utter bullshit sounds like when uttered by someone wearing a U.S. military uniform. For example:
“The tipping point will soon turn the corner and begin connecting the dots on the ink-stained, flypaper dominoes in the tunnel at the end of the light.”
“The remarkable gains that we have made over the past ten years remain so fragile that they will most likely collapse ten days after we take our money and leave. Therefore, we have to stay for another decade or two so as to produce more precarious fragility.”
“Our friends won’t respect us and our enemies won’t fear us if we stop acting so stupidly. This presumes that our friends admire our stupidity and our enemies fear it: precisely the opposite of what our friends and enemies actually think.”
Or, one from miltiary historian and theorist Martin Van Creveld:
“The only thing the Americans can train the Iraqis to do is how to kill Americans. How stupid can they be?” (Sounds like a perfect description of our “training” programs in Afghanistan)
And Just think: if we continue pissing all over the Russians perhaps they might refuse to aid us in getting our marooned troops out of Afghanistan, which means the Buy Time Brigade will have to exit through the Khyber Pass, which didn’t turn out so well for the last doomed British garrison who tried to get out that way awhile back.
Where do we get these people? Certainly not from the deep end of the nation’s intellectual gene pool.
The Times account, from the “official from the NATO-led military coalition,” seems the most confused to me. Though I am just doing two-against-one, what WaPo and TOLO say, versus what the Times says.
That’s a joke.
image – graph
Opium poppy cultivation and eradication, 1997-2013
I’d say that 2002 was a turning point. Thank you, CIA.