Friday, October 28, 2011

Kandahar City Incident

One of our small bases in Kandahar City had a little too much excitement yesterday.  A small group of insurgents (around four, depending on the source) attacked Camp Nathan Smith with rifles, RPG's, and two car bombs (VBIEDs).  But they were pretty spectacularly unsuccessful.  Not only did they never breach the gate, but they were forced back into a nearby house, where some were killed by the Afghan police forces and the rest by a Hellfire missile.  Unfortunately, one of our interpreters was killed in the attack and a few others wounded.

The success story is that the insurgents were chased down and cornered, and some were killed, by Afghan security forces.  They were led by General Raziq, a very strong commander.  Think Dirty Harry in charge of a small army and you have a rough idea.  He's not what you'd call a "good" guy, but he's extremely effective.  General Raziq happened to be at a meeting at the base when the insurgents attacked, and within 15 minutes had his forces mobilized and the insurgents on the run.  (These insurgents were both (a) not too swift in their planning and (b) fabulously unlucky.)

This camp is where the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is based.  I have quite a few friends that I work with there, so I was happy to hear that all were safe.

Kandahar has been very quiet in recent weeks.  There has been little in the way of "kinetics" (military-speak for "shooting and bombing") throughout the city.  The airport, where I'm based, is several miles outside of town.  It has been the frequent target of rocket attacks, but in the two weeks I've been here, we've only had maybe three days with attacks.  The general feeling is that the insurgents are winding up the fighting season and laying up for winter.  Yesterday's assault, and another in a nearby town, were probably their "goodbye" messages until spring.  They won't be missed.  Not by us and not by the locals, either.  Most of the people here just want to live normal lives.  They don't much care who's in charge.  Well, yes they do: they don't like the Taliban because they're violent thugs, but they don't like us because we're infidels, foreigners, and wherever we are, there are Taliban attacks.  They just want somebody who'll leave them the hell alone.

We're working on it.

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