The suspected Taliban fighters who attacked the Afghan interior ministry Wednesday were wearing old U.S. Army Universal Camouflage Pattern Uniforms and driving a captured Humvee, a tactic the enemy has used in the past, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said today.
"Eight terrorists in a captured Humvee attempted to penetrate the Minister of Interior headquarters in downtown Kabul," Army Gen. John Nicholson, Operation Resolute Support mission commander, told reporters at the Pentagon.
The attackers were attempting to drive through a checkpoint into the government complex when they were stopped by Afghan security, he said.
"They were wearing old-style Army uniforms," Nicholson said. "The good news is that the guards at the gate, the Afghan guards, immediately recognized these as old uniforms, called on them to exit the vehicle so they could be checked out and, at that point, the fighting started."
Nicholson said he was told one of the attackers "detonated his suicide vest and actually killed himself and some of his colleagues as they were conducting the attack."
"They never gained entrance to the MOI headquarters," he said.
The Afghan special police reaction unit on "alert status inside the city quickly reacted and killed all these terrorists before they could gain entrance to the MOI," Nicholson said.
Seven of the eight enemy fighters were killed in the attempted attack; one was taken prisoner, Nicholson said.
"Sadly, one of our Afghan comrades was killed and a few more were wounded, but the attack failed," he said.
U.S. and coalition forces believe the Taliban's Haqqani Network launched the attack, Nicholson said, adding that it tracks with its previous tactics.
Enemy forces have used captured uniforms in the past in an attempt to fool security, but "frankly it has been well over a year" since that has occurred, he said.
"Obviously, it's a concern if the enemy is wearing old uniforms. It might cause a hesitation or a delay ... but again I point to the alertness and the quick reaction of the Afghan security forces on the scene," Nicholson said. "They did exactly what they were supposed to do."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.