Yesterday, perimeter guards and Apache gunships at Bagram, the sprawling U.S. base about an hour’s drive north of Kabul, repelled a Taliban “complex attack,” the military’s euphemism for a guerrilla combined arms attack, killing some 20 insurgents in the process. Military sources tell Defense Tech the Bagram attack, which killed a U.S. contractor and wounded nine servicemen, signaled the opening of a widely anticipated Taliban offensive and that similar attacks are expected as Taliban assault teams have fanned out across Afghanistan.
The attack on Bagram was well coordinated, it was aimed at the main gate, most of the American casualties resulted from mortar fire into the base, Taliban suicide bombers attempted to infiltrate the base on motorcycles and some wore military style uniforms and chest rigs stuffed with grenades and AK-47 magazines. At least a couple of insurgents made it into a vehicle maintenance bay before they were killed, whether that meant they were technically inside the perimeter our sources were unable to confirm.
The insurgents likely came from the guerrilla force commanded by Jalaluddin Haqqani’s son Saraj, which operates in eastern and northern Afghanistan, sources say. The Haqqani network is based in the lawless Pakistani tribal regions along the border. In recent weeks, the network has been infiltrating platoon sized assault teams, 20-40 men, across the border, that then disperse to different targets.
-- Greg Grant