Sig­nif­i­cant lapses led to at­tack on mil­i­tary base in Afghanistan


The top US com­man­ders of a coali­tion base in south­ern Afghanistan “failed to take ad­e­quate force pro­tec­tion” mea­sures prior to a Septem­ber 2012 at­tack by the Tal­iban that led to the deaths of two Marines and the de­struc­tion of mil­i­tary air­craft, ac­cord­ing to a re­port on the in­ci­dent.

Ma­rine Com­man­dant Gen­eral James Amos fired the two se­nior com­man­ders of the base at the time, Ma­jor Gen­eral Charles Gur­ganus and Ma­jor Gen­eral Gregg Stur­de­vant, es­sen­tially forc­ing them into re­tire­ment. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion was di­rected by Army Gen­eral Lloyd J. Austin III, who leads Cen­tral Com­mand, to de­ter­mine any po­ten­tial ac­count­abil­ity for the at­tack.

Fif­teen Tal­iban in­sur­gents, dressed in US Army uni­forms, went un­de­tected as they breached the east­ern perime­ter of the com­plex, and then split into three sep­a­rate teams to con­duct the as­sault on the base.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Gur­ganus, who main­tained over­all com­mand of se­cu­rity at the Amer­i­can base, “knew, or should have known” about per­sis­tent risks to the com­pound’s se­cu­rity, and “un­der­es­ti­mated the threat posed by the en­emy’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties.” Sev­eral fac­tors, from in­ad­e­quate pa­trolling of the base perime­ter, to a faulty as­sess­ment of the threat posed by po­ten­tial en­emy in­fil­tra­tors, con­trib­uted to se­cu­rity short­com­ings at the com­plex, the re­port said. SP

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