The U.S. military is playing down the Taliban's dubious claim that attackers had "exact information" about where Gen. Martin Dempsey's plane would be when it was attacked on Monday night. Those were the words Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid used when claiming responsibility for the Monday night attack on Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, where the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman was meeting with U.S., NATO, and Afghan officials, according to The Associated Press' Kay Johnson. But their information couldn't have been all that exact, because Dempsey and his staff were sleeping in their quarters at the time of the attack, Agence France-Presse's Dan de Luce reported. One spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force told AFP it was a lucky shot, and said the plane "was a C-17 that looked just like every other C-17 on the tarmac." CNN said shrapnel from two rockets hit the plane, and also damaged a nearby helicopter. Two U.S. maintenance workers suffered minor injuries in the attack, and the plane had "small holes above the crew door, in the fuselage to the left of the door and in one of the engine coverings," ABC News reported. Dempsey left by a different plane.
But the attack underscored something Dempsey had traveled to Afghanistan to meet with commanders about: the ongoing attacks on U.S. forces by apparently friendly Afghans in police uniforms, for which the Taliban has also claimed high-level involvement. Last week, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar said his militants had infiltrated U.S. forces in order to attack troops inside their bases. But according to AFP, "NATO has blamed the incidents on a mixture of cultural differences, personal vendettas and propaganda by Islamist militants." Whether organized by the Taliban or not, the uptick in so-called green-on-blue attacks can't be denied. But as with last week's attack on a helicopter that killed seven U.S. troops, the Taliban is quick to take credit for disrupting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, but less quick to provide evidence they've done so.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.