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May 19th, 2010

Taliban Launch Brazen Strike on NATO Base

Attack comes one day after suicide bomber kills 5 U.S. troops

Image: Attack at the U.S. air base in Bagram
U.S. soldiers and Afghan policemen stand guard on a road leading to the U.S. air base in Bagram, on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (Photo credit: Shah Marai / AFP — Getty Images)

Reuters and The Associated Press via
May 19, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents carrying rockets and grenades launched a brazen pre-dawn attack on a giant U.S.-run base north of Afghanistan’s capital on Wednesday, leaving at least 10 guerrillas dead and 7 foreign troops wounded.

The attack on Bagram air base, about an hour’s drive north of Kabul, continued into daylight with sporadic fire of rockets and small arms outside. One rocket landed inside the base, causing minor damage, but no insurgents managed to get inside Bagram, according to NATO.

Helicopter gunships hovered above Bagram, the main base for the U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan with the largest airfield in the country. It was used by the former Soviet Union during its invasion of the country in the 1980s. …

Taliban offensive

The Bagram attack came one day after a suicide bomber struck a U.S. convoy in Kabul, killing 18 people. The Kabul dead included five American troops and a Canadian.

The back-to-back strikes appeared part of a Taliban offensive that the insurgents announced earlier this month — even as the U.S. and its partners prepare for a major operation to restore order in the turbulent south. …


Kabul suicide bomb kills 18 (NBC Nightly News, May 18, 2010) – A Taliban suicide car bomber attacked a NATO-led military convoy during rush hour in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, killing 12 Afghan civilians and at least six NATO troops. (01:21)

In February 2007, a suicide bombing killed more than 20 people at a Bagram security gate while Vice President Dick Cheney was inside. Cheney was unhurt but the Taliban said he was the target.

Deadly day for U.S.

The Bagram assault followed the deadliest day of the year for U.S. forces in Afghanistan with seven Americans dead — including two who died in separate attacks in the south. The dead in the Kabul attack included Canadian Col. Geoff Parker, 42, the highest-ranking member of the Canadian Forces to die in Afghanistan since the Canadian mission began in 2002, the country’s military said. …

The Kabul attack was the heaviest loss of life for NATO in a single attack in the capital since Sept. 17, when a suicide car bomber killed six Italian soldiers. For U.S. forces, it was the bloodiest day since Oct. 27, when nine Americans died in separate attacks in central and southern Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, the Taliban announced a new offensive — “Operation Al-Fatah” or “Victory” — which would target NATO forces, foreign diplomats, contractors and Afghan government officials. …

Full story


Related reports on this site

Afghan War Closes in on Kabul (Oct. 28, 2009)

14 Americans Dead in Afghanistan (Oct. 26, 2009)

9 Coalition Troops Killed (Sept. 19, 2009)

Bagram Air Base Attacked (June 21, 2009)


5/23/2010 Update

Insurgents Attack NATO’s Main Military Base in Southern Afghanistan

Taliban claim responsibility for third major assault in six days


Insurgents attack NATO’s Afghan base (NBC Nightly News, May 22, 2010) – NBC’s Tom Aspell reports. (01:01)

By Heidi Vogt

May 22, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban claimed responsibility Sunday for a nighttime assault on NATO’s biggest base in southern Afghanistan. Insurgents firing rockets, mortars and automatic weapons tried to storm Kandahar Air Field — the second such attack on a major military installation this week.

Several coalition troops and civilian employees were wounded in the assault Saturday night, but there were no reports of deaths, officials said.

A Canadian Press news agency report from Kandahar said artillery and machine gun fire reverberated through the base, about 300 miles southwest of Kabul, several hours after the attack began. Militants unleashed rockets and mortars about 8 p.m. and then tried unsuccessfully to storm the northern perimeter, officials said. …

It was the third major attack on NATO forces in Afghanistan in six days. …

On Tuesday, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy in the capital, killing 18 people including six NATO service members including five Americans and a Canadian. The next day, dozens of Taliban militants attacked the main U.S. military base — Bagram Air Field — killing an American contractor in fighting that lasted more than eight hours.

On Saturday night, at least five rockets struck the Kandahar base in the initial attack, said Navy Cmdr. Amanda Peterseim, a spokeswoman for NATO forces at the base. Witnesses said explosions continued through much of the night. There were no reports of deaths and Peterseim did not have the precise number of wounded. …

Attacks in the south earlier Saturday killed three NATO service members — one American, one French and one Dutch — and an Afghan interpreter. That brought to 997 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the war began in October 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The Dutch death toll in Afghanistan now is 24 and the French toll is 42. …

Full story


9/13/2012 Update

Rockets Destroy NATO Helicopter, Kill 3 Afghans Hours After Bagram Handover

September 11, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — Four rockets hit Afghanistan’s Bagram airfield, destroying a helicopter belonging to the NATO-led forces and killing three Afghan personnel inside, a spokesman for the coalition said Tuesday.

The attack, which took place at around 10 p.m. local time on Monday (1:30 p.m. ET Monday), came on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Security across the capital, Kabul, was intensified.

Two personnel belonging to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), who were also in the helicopter, were wounded, the spokesman said.

The helicopter, which was on a ramp in the airfield when the rockets hit, was destroyed by the ensuing fire, an ISAF official told NBC News.

The Taliban, in a text message to Reuters, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had fired rockets at the helicopter, which was on a ramp in the airfield.

Meanwhile, in the western province of Herat, a suicide attack on a meeting of village elders killed at least seven people and wounded six others, the local police chief’s office told NBC News.

That attack followed a suicide bombing of a funeral in eastern Nangarhar province, which killed at least 25.

Despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of Afghan and foreign troops fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, violence is at its worst since the Islamists were toppled by Afghan and U.S. forces in late 2001, five years after they took power. …

The Bagram attack came hours after the United States handed control of the controversial giant prison located at at the air base and its 3,000 suspected Taliban inmates to Afghan authorities. …

Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — May 19, 2009

epa01725388 A picture made available on 10 May 200...
Afghan children injured in a airstrikes receive medical treatment at a hospital in Farah province, Afghanistan on May 9, 2009. Afghan officials said dozens of civilians were killed when U.S.-led warplanes bombed several houses in Bala Boluk district of the province. (Photo credit: Stringer / EPA file)

Iraq Postpones National Election

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that Iraqi officials postponed national parliamentary elections until Jan. 30, 2010; that Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said “We cannot succeed … in Afghanistan by killing Afghan civilians”; and that the U.N. refugee agency revealed that nearly 1.5 million people had fled their homes in Pakistan in May in an attempt to escape fighting between government forces and Taliban militants.

4 Responses to “Bagram Air Base Attacked … Again”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Immelman vs. Bachmann Petition Says:

    […] Insurgents attack NATO military base in Afghanistan […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bin Laden Revenge Attacks Says:

    […] Bagram Air Base Attacked … Again […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Deadliest Attack on U.S. Coalition in Kabul Since Afghan War Began Says:

    […] Suicide Bomber Strikes U.S. Convoy in Kabul, Killing 18 (May 19, 2010) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bagram Air Base Attacked Says:

    […] Bagram Air Base Attacked … Again (May 19, 2010) […]

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