Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

MoD considers US base attack report

A Taliban attack on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, has been the subject of a US review
A Taliban attack on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, has been the subject of a US review

The Ministry of Defence said it is to "consider" the findings of a US review amid claims by US military officials that the British should have strengthened security at a military base in Afghanistan.

Two US Marines were killed and 16 soldiers were killed or injured in a Taliban attack on Camp Bastion in September 2012.

The US review released this week looks into the actions of US personnel but security was the responsibility of British officers, according to The Independent.

US Major-General Gregg Sturdevant did not realise until after the attack that "there were unmanned towers out there... The Brits were embarrassed," according to a statement published in The Independent.

He said: "It took a while for the real story to come out," the statement continues, "and some of my folks are still pretty pissed off about that. It was unfortunate, and it was not a pretty story. For the tower to be unmanned with the terrain out there, I questioned that." In the aftermath of the assault, the US took over responsibility for security.

"I told them that we were no longer willing to accept not being in charge of overall security. The attack definitely changed the environment. They knew that they had screwed up," Major- General Sturdevant says.

An MoD spokesman said: "Following the attack on Camp Bastion in December 2012 the UK has contributed fully to a number of Isaf, US and UK reviews. As a result, force protection measures at Camp Bastion have been reviewed and are appropriate to current threat levels.

"As stated in the US review, a concertina wire, a ditch, berm obstacle and a 30ft high boundary chain link fence were in place around Camp Bastion at the time of the attack.

"The US review further states that a separate internal perimeter fence would likely not have presented any serious challenge, barrier or impediment to the enemy on the day of the attack.

"The insurgents were repelled by US Marines and Royal Air Force Regiment personnel whose courageous actions prevented greater loss of life and equipment.

"While the US Review was intended to examine US actions only and not those of coalition forces, the UK will consider its findings in detail to confirm our earlier assessment that no further UK action is required."

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