“…Startlingly, the six destroyed Harriers represent no less than 1/15th of the Marines’ entire inventory of the versatile, vertical-landing jets. The F-35B version of the stealthy Joint Strike Fighter is slated to replace the Harrier over the next 15 years.Nine NATO personnel – eight military and one civilian – were injured in addition to the two Marines who died….
The Bastion attack is not the first time insurgents have targeted NATO aircraft. Last month a rocket damaged an Air Force C-17 cargo plane assigned to carry Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on his Afghanistan tour…..
Nor is Friday’s attack the first perpetrated by insurgents disguised as U.S. troops. In 2010, following a spate of such attacks, the Pentagon ordered the Army to begin treating stocks of uniforms as “sensitive”and remove them from “pilferable” ground resupply convoys moving through Pakistan. “There is evidence that the enemy is using pilfered out-garment uniform items to gain a tactical advantage,” the Pentagon warned.
It’s unclear to what extent that advantage factored into the Bastion attack. In any event, the death and destruction wrought on a heavily-defended NATO base by just 15 determined attackers is a chilling reminder of the insurgency’s enduring potency. “
“… Six US fighter jets were destroyed and two significantly damaged when insurgents stormed a heavily fortified Afghan base where Britain’s Prince Harry is deployed on Friday, a NATO spokesman said.
Lieutenant Colonel Hagen Messer conceded that the scale of damage, carried out by more than a dozen attackers dressed in US Army uniforms and armed with guns, rockets and suicide vests who managed to storm the airfield, was unprecedented.
Three coalition refuelling stations were also destroyed and six aircraft hangars damaged in the assault at Camp Bastion in southern Helmand province, one of the toughest battlegrounds of the war, the US-led NATO force said.
In a statement, it said the attack was “well-coordinated” and carried out by around 15 insurgents, who were organised into three teams and who penetrated the perimeter fence.
“The insurgents appeared to be well equipped, trained and rehearsed,” targeting fighter jets and helicopters parked next to the runway, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in the statement released nearly 36 hours after the assault began.”
“… KABUL, Afghanistan —Four U.S. troops were killed Sunday near a remote NATO installation in southern Afghanistan when a member of the Afghan security forces opened fire on them, military officials said.The deaths at a checkpoint in Zabul province, staffed by both foreign and Afghan forces, marked an escalation of so-called insider attacks on international troops…”