AFGHANISTAN: Insurgents Damage Top U.S. Commander’s Plane

August 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm 4 comments

Lucky Shot or Close Call?

Afghan militants are trying to get the biggest propaganda boost they can from a rocket attack early yesterday (August 21) on Bagram Airfield that damaged the transport plane used by the U.S. military’s top commander — Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman off the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, prepares to board a CH-47 at Kabul International Airport Aug. 20.
(Defense Dept. photo by D. Myles Cullen)

The overnight attack, which is not that unusual according to NATO officials, damaged the Air Force C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft on which Dempsey flew into Afghanistan, CNN and other news outlets reported. Dempsey was in his quarters asleep and never in danger from the attack in the wee hours of the morning when two rockets landed on Bagram’s flightline. Two Air Force aircraft maintainers were slightly injured — suffering cuts and bruises from debris. The C-17 was not directly hit by the rockets but flying shrapnel damaged the crew door and the cowling on one of the big plane’s four jet engines.

Dempsey and his travelling party had to switch to another plane to fly out of Afghanistan for the rest of his trip to Iraq.

NATO officials said rockets or other explosive projectiles are fired into the airfield once or twice a month, usually with little effect, the New York Times reported. But according to the Times and other news outlets, the Taliban claimed it had deliberately targeted Dempsey’s plane. A Taliban spokesman claimed the chairman’s plane was targeted “using exact information” about where it would be, the Associated Press reported. The Taliban also claimed to have shot down a U.S. helicopter last week, killing seven Americans and four Afghans. But U.S. officials have said enemy fire was not responsible for that fatal crash.

Dempsey was in Afghanistan to speak with NATO coalition and Afghan leaders about the increasing problem of Afghans in uniform — whether actual policemen and soldiers or Taliban infiltrators — attacking coalition forces. There have been 32 attacks so far this year — 11 more than for all of 2011.


Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, National Security and Defense, News Developments, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stan R. Mitchell  |  August 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I’m sure it was just a lucky shot. They’ve been saying for ten years that we’re winning, and victory is just around the corner, right?

    If we can just stay the course until 2014, or maybe 2018, then they’ll have a fully functioning democracy complete with a government that lacks corruption and a perfect society that lets women vote and drive and generally speak their minds.

    Hang in there, gents. We’ve got a whole line of general officers just raring to prove their smarter than the dozen who came before them. And those defense contractors… Oh, they’re licking their chops and our cowardly Congressmen don’t want to turn down their donations or appear weak.

    So, buck up, young men and women. Lots of medals still to be handed out, plenty of chapters left for Generals to include in their books, and still time for our miserable Congressmen to raise some more campaign donations.

    We’re winning this thing! Don’t ever stop drinking the Kool Aid!

  • 2. Stan R. Mitchell  |  August 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    “We’ve got a whole line of general officers just raring to prove their smarter…”

    “they’re” not “their”

    Dang, haste…

  • 3. John M. Doyle  |  August 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    At this point, with all the green-on-blue attacks and the corruption of the Kabul government and the almost casual nature of the violence by the insurgents — it just seems like a sinkhole.

    What will it take to fix it? Can it be fixed? Should it be fixed? There’s lots of folks in my business willing to pint out where we went wrong. But has someone got an answer on how to fix it — even a little bit?

    • 4. Stan R. Mitchell  |  August 23, 2012 at 12:01 am

      Great questions, and unfortunately, I think we missed our opportunity to fix it. Now, ten years later, I don’t think it can be fixed.

      Put me in the camp of folks who say it’s time to get out of there.

      I’m okay with a base or two full of special operations troops from which we can launch attacks and control drones, but I’m beyond sick and tired of spending billions trying to rebuild this backward, broken, and uneducated country. These people are decades and decades — if not centuries — away from understanding things such as democracy and decency.

      I’m sorry there are women who will be mistreated. I’m sorry they won’t have the right to vote and the Taliban will soon be whipping and shooting people in the streets. But we gave them a chance. We’ve stayed longer than we stayed in Vietnam. They could have helped us make this happen.

      Instead, guys like Karzai and his corrupt cronies have undermined us at nearly every step and inflamed the misguided masses to believing the BS propaganda from the Taliban.

      We’ve done our part to try to help them, but as a whole, we’ve been roundly rejected. Let’s hand them the keys and wish them well. (Who knows, such a threat may actually lead to them appreciating our efforts and helping us stabilize their shithole of a country before we skip in 2014. Reverse psychology is a deadly tool.)

      Bottom line: I think Afghanistan is a poster child for mission creep. We invaded to get Osama bin Laden, and at some point we decided we’d create a democracy there while we were at it.

      We took what was one of the most successful wars in history — mostly air power with very few ground troops while relying on the Northern Alliance — and took a wrong turn and ended up in a quagmire.


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