Kamdesh video

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

Tal­iban in­sur­gents re­cently posted on the In­ter­net a pro­pa­ganda video show­ing their ver­sion of a deadly at­tack on the U.S. mil­i­tary out­post near Kamdesh and the af­ter­math, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. in­tel­li­gence re­port.

The Open Source Cen­ter, part of the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence, pro­duced the re­port on the video, which was based on the Oct. 3 bat­tle in a re­mote area of east­ern Afghanistan that re­sulted in the deaths of eight U.S. sol­diers. The deaths came de­spite ad­vanced in­tel­li­gence re­ports warn­ing of an im­pend­ing at­tack. It was the largest sin­gle num­ber of U.S. ca­su­al­ties in Afghanistan since a sim­i­lar at­tack in the same re­gion last year.

The re­port, “Tal­iban Pro­pa­ganda Video Cap­i­tal­izes on ‘Cap­ture’ of U.S. Base,” states that the Tal­iban video was put on an in­sur­gent Web site Nov. 18 and “show­cases what it de­scribes as the ‘cap­ture’ of a U.S. mil­i­tary base in the Kamdesh district of Nuris­tan Prov­ince.”

The video calls the at­tack a “mes­sage of suc­cess” and shows scenes of what ap­pear to be the beginning of the raid by an es­ti­mated 200 in­sur­gents, and the weapons and am­mu­ni­tion the Tal­iban claimed they cap­tured. The video shows a bat­tle with smal­l­arms fire and rocket-pro­pelled grenades launched on the U.S. forces from hills sur­round­ing the base.

At one point, the video shows a bearded Tal­iban leader try­ing out an ex­er­cise ma­chine used by the Army troops be­fore their de­par­ture. In an­other scene, an in­sur­gent fires a cap­tured U.S. Army M4 car­bine.

In­tel­li­gence re­ports ob­tained by The Wash­ing­ton Times re­veal that U.S. forces had warn­ing days be­fore the at­tack that Tal­iban in­sur­gents were plan­ning to strike the out­post.

U.S. forces had made prepa­ra­tions to pull out of the re­mote com­bat out­post, known as COP Keat­ing, when the at­tack took place.

“In­tel­li­gence re­ports that con­firm spe­cific en­emy in­ten­tions do not re­quire anal­y­sis or an­a­lysts. Fun­da­men­tally, the art there­fore is to eval­u­ate en­emy in­di­ca­tors against friendly in­di­ca­tors to an­tic­i­pate the most likely en­emy course of action,” said a mil­i­tary of­fi­cer in the re­gion, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the sen­si­tiv­ity of the is­sue.

The of­fi­cer said that though parts of the video ap­pear to have been staged af­ter the bat­tle, “U.S. forces ul­ti­mately with­drew be­cause of en­emy pres­sure and action.”

The video also seeks to glo­rify what it says was the group’s tri­umphant march into the cap­tured base and the sym­bolic burn­ing of an Amer­i­can flag. It in­cludes video of the Tal­iban leader in the re­gion, iden­ti­fied as Sheik Dost Mo­ham­mad, mak­ing a tour of the area. A copy of the Open Source Cen­ter re­port and the Tal­iban video were ob­tained by the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Sci­en­tists’ Project on Se­crecy in Gov­ern­ment. A link is posted at wash­ing­ton­times.com.

A mil­i­tary spokesman in Afghanistan could not be reached for com­ment on the re­port.

The video in­cludes cap­tions show­ing that the Tal­iban had at least two cam­eras to film the at­tack and footage of gun­fire and smoke from burn­ing build­ings along with Tal­iban anti-air­craft fire at a he­li­copter.

The re­port says the Tal­iban fight­ers dis­played “war booty” from the raid, in­clud­ing weapons and am­mu­ni­tion pur­port­edly cap­tured from what the video says were “in­vad­ing cru­saders.”

“Booty is an im­por­tant part of the Tal­iban’s phi­los­o­phy of [holy war], as seen by the ded­i­ca­tion of an en­tire chap­ter of the Tal­iban Code of Con­duct to the def­i­ni­tion of, and rules for, the dis­tri­bu­tion of booty [Tal­iban Code of Con­duct, Chap­ter 5, May],” the re­port says.

Af­ter recit­ing a verse from the Ko­ran, the video an­nounc­ers state, “This is a big Amer­i­can base in Kamdesh district, which was cap­tured by the mu­ja­hedeen, with the help of God and as a re­sult of con­tin­u­ous at­tacks by the brave mu­ja­hedeen.”

The video quotes a Tal­iban com­man­der as say­ing: “You and the en­tire world know that a big field gun was placed here. The Amer­i­cans were forced to flee af­ter con­tin­u­ous at­tacks by the mu­ja­hedeen, and as far as you can see here, all fell into mu­ja­hedeen hands.”

The video also in­cludes a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion with a ques­tioner ask­ing whether the Tal­iban will be able to cap­ture other bases; the an­swer is, “We are pos­i­tive that other bases will be cap­tured in the same way.”

The in­tel­li­gence re­ports of an im­pend­ing at­tack on Kamdesh were not acted upon be­cause they were dis­missed as un­con­firmed or in­signif­i­cant, ac­cord­ing to an Army spokesman.

The in­tel­li­gence in­di­cated a new Tal­iban sub­com­man­der in Kamdesh, named Ghu­lan Faroq, had been ap­pointed and “charged with at­tack­ing COP Keat­ing.” It gave no date for the at­tack.

The in­tel­li­gence re­port­ing also states that days be­fore the at­tack, “fight­ers in Kamdesh re­ceived a re­sup­ply of B-10 am­mu­ni­tion” suit­able for use with Soviet-de­signed B-10 re­coil­less guns that fire 82 mm mor­tar­like rounds. An­other pre-at­tack re­port states that around Oct. 2, a Tal­iban meet­ing was held in Kamdesh and that “a Tal­iban com­man­der will ar­rive in Kamdesh soon to con­duct at­tacks against coali­tion forces.”

A third re­port says that in late Septem­ber, “a Tal­iban com­man­der planned to con­duct si­mul­ta­ne­ous at­tacks against coali­tion bases in Ge­wardesh, Kamu and Kamdesh re­gions of Nuris­tan and that each at­tack would be per­pe­trated by 10-15 Tal­iban fight­ers in each lo­ca­tion.”

De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency Di­rec­tor Lt. Gen. Ron­ald L. Burgess Jr. con­firmed in closed­door tes­ti­mony Oct. 22 be­fore the Se­nate Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence that there were three in­tel­li­gence re­ports in­di­cat­ing that Tal­iban forces were pre­par­ing to at­tack a re­mote U.S. com­bat out­post in east­ern Afghanistan, ac­cord­ing to de­fense of­fi­cials. fos­sil fu­els and seek to se­cure en­ergy sup­plies.

In an in­ter­view with In­side the Ring, Mr. Mabus dis­puted crit­ics who might sug­gest en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism was more im­por­tant than force readi­ness. “Our No. 1 con­cern in be­com­ing en­ergy-ef­fi­cient and mov­ing away from fos­sil fuel is to im­prove war-fight­ing,” he said.

Also, Mr. Mabus said green tech­nol­ogy is avail­able, not­ing that an F-18 jet has been flown with bio­fuel in­stead of kero­sine. “It worked fine,” he said.

Mr. Mabus also said the Navy’s first green ship is the am­phibi­ous as­sault car­rier USS Makin Is­land, which is pro­pelled with both gas tur­bines and elec­tric motors.

In a pref­ace to the re­port, Mr. Mabus stated that he is com­mit­ted to “en­ergy re­form” and re­duc­tion in the use of fos­sil fu­els.

“The un­der­ly­ing rea­sons for re­form are clear,” he said. “Our en­ergy sources are not se­cure. We need to be more ef­fi­cient in en­ergy use, and we emit too much car­bon. Over­re­liance on fos­sil fu­els is bad strat­egy, bad busi­ness and bad for the planet.”

He said the U.S. mil­i­tary uses 93 per­cent of all fed­er­ally used en­ergy sup­plies and is the largest sin­gle con­sumer of en­ergy in the United States.

In­stead of oil, Mr. Mabus wants Navy equip­ment to run on al­gae, grain, cel­lu­lose, sea­wa­ter, waves, wind, so­lar and geo­ther­mal power in the fu­ture and to “dream of what to­day might seem unimag­in­able.”

“En­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship is our re­spon­si­bil­ity,” the re­port states. “We will re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of our en­ergy use, lead in re­duc­ing green­house­gas emis­sions and pro­mote sus­tain­abil­ity.”

It gives few de­tails on how the Navy will make its ships, sub­marines, air­craft and ground ve­hi­cles en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, but the re­port states that sailors will “con­sider car­bon emis­sions in our daily op­er­a­tions and our pro­cure­ments.”

The Navy also will “re­place en­ergy from fos­sil fu­els with en­ergy from al­ter­na­tive and re­new­able sources,” the re­port says.

The re­port says the green ef­fort will be led by the Naval En­ergy Of­fice, but it makes no men­tion of in­creas­ing the use of nu­clear power, cur­rently used to power all air­craft car­ri­ers and sub­marines.

On an un­re­lated sub­ject, Mr. Mabus was asked to com­ment on the con­tro­ver­sial case of four Navy SEALs cur­rently courts­mar­tial for pur­port­edly punch­ing an al Qaeda ter­ror­ist in Iraq. The ter­ror­ist was blamed for the deaths of four U.S. con­trac­tors and for mis­lead­ing Navy in­ves­ti­ga­tors about the in­ci­dent.

“It’s with the con­ven­ing au­thor­ity, and I can’t do it be­cause of risk of com­mand in­flu­ence,” Mr. Mabus said.

Asked if he was aware of wide­spread crit­i­cism that the case has prompted from pro-mil­i­tary ad­vo­cates, Mr. Mabus said: “I read the pa­per.”

Bill Gertz cov­ers na­tional se­cu­rity af­fairs. He can be reached at 202/636-3274, or at in­sid­e­ther ing@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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