By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 19, 2010; 2:29 PM
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s brazen assault against the heavily-fortified, city-sized Bagram Air Field on Wednesday demonstrated again the insurgents’ penchant for headline-grabbing strikes at the most potent symbols of foreign power in Afghanistan.
The attack before dawn, with gunfire, rockets, and grenades, killed one U.S. contractor and wounded nine American soldiers. The U.S. soldiers at the base responded by killing 10 insurgents, including four wearing suicide vests.
It was the second ambitious attack in as many days, and possibly a demonstration of the new offensive the Taliban promised earlier this month. As the U.S. military sends thousands of new troops to the southern city of Kandahar, the Taliban vowed to respond by targeting Afghan officials, contractors and NATO forces.
On Tuesday, a suicide car bomber targeted a U.S. convoy in Kabul, killing five U.S. troops, a Canadian and at least a dozen Afghan civilians. The attack, coupled with the death of two American troops in separate bombings, pushed the U.S. death toll past 1,000 for the nine-year Afghan war.
The attack at Bagram involved 20 to 30 insurgents and began before 4 a.m., U.S. military officials said. None of them breached the perimeter, but gun battles continued for several hours.
The Associated Press reported that the attackers wore uniforms that appeared to match those of U.S. or NATO troops. A U.S. military spokesman said this tactic “wouldn’t be uncommon,” but could not confirm it happened in this case.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for both major attacks this week. Fighting usually tapers off in the cold winter months and then accelerates in the spring and summer. American military officials have been expecting an increase in violence, both in response to their troop build-up and because of the season.
But the choice of Bagram as a target surprised many people. Insurgents tend to avoid confronting American military might head-on. The airfield, expanded from an old Soviet military base, houses thousands of U.S. troops, the headquarters of the military operation for eastern Afghanistan, and the primary U.S.-run detention center. Insurgents have fired rockets at the base in the past, but the assault was “not something that commonly happens quite in this way,” said Mst. Sgt. Tom Clementson, a U.S. military spokesman at Bagram.
“That’s a dog chasing a school bus. You don’t attack Bagram with 20 guys,” one U.S. official said. “Either they’re crazy or brave or both.” (click HERE for the original article)
Here are some more articles written by different publications
Bagram attack kills US contractor, wounds nine NATO soldiers
Taliban attack key US base in Afghanistan
If you know who the America Civilian is who was killed please don’t post it in a comment. Email me by clicking HERE I don’t want to publish the name until the family has been notified officially.
My sincere condolences to the friends and family of our soldiers and civilians who were injured or killed during this cowardly attack. As far as the suicide bombers go…..good riddance!
Update 5-21-2010: Our friends at Defense Base Comp Blog have determined the contractor who was killed at Bagram was Bryan Keith Farr. I think I’ve been have to determine he worked for KBR at one time but am not sure if he has transitioned to the LOGCAP IV contractor Fluor, which I suspect is the case. I’ve checked out his myspace, facebook and searched the tweets on twitter and will be updating as soon as there is confirmation. Anyone who has information and would like to share it please email me or leave a comment below.