Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
RAF Force Protection Wing defends Camp Bastion during Taliban attack
Members of No 5 RAF Force Protection Wing, working alongside the US Marine Corps (USMC), have spoken about quickly regaining control of Camp Bastion Airfield following an insurgent attack on Friday 14 September, killing 14 and capturing one of the enemy.
Fifteen heavily-armed insurgents dressed in US Army uniforms and armed with PKM general purpose machine guns, AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades broke through perimeter defences and initially targeted tower guards with heavy fire. Tragically two US Marines were killed.
Subsequently they attacked the USMC flight line, damaging infrastructure and AV-8B Harrier jump jets. The RAF Force Protection Wing based at Camp Bastion was quick to react, deploying forces throughout the camp, with 51 Squadron RAF Regiment pushing out onto the airfield and the RAF Police from the Bastion Security Squadron maintaining security around key installations throughout the camp.
The RAF Regiment gunners' aim was to reclaim control of the airfield. Supported by a number of different direct fire weapons, and co-ordinating the assault with members of 2/10 Battalion US Marine Corps, they moved methodically across the airfield engaging in various fire fights as they dealt with pockets of resistance over a period of some four hours.
Flight Lieutenant Andy Beney was the Force Protection Wing's battle captain located in the Operations Room during the incident.
There are many issues coming to a head in Afghanistan. I personally believe that they all stem from the strategy of attempting to give the Afghans something they didn't want by military means.
By this I mean that I think we, the west, went into Afghanistan with a pipe dream of turning a tribal society into some form of democracy backed up by an inadequate amount of military hardware and no meaningful integration with other agencies/ resources who could give the Afghans what they actually wanted which was water, power, security and - to a degree - education.
I agree with Gen Jackson when he states that we should have had a rope, of which one thread was the military. Instead we went with a one string plan.
As for the enemy. Well we picked a fight with a bunch that don't need to win today or tomorrow but can sit it out and still be in the game long after western budgets have dried up, western stomachs have yet again turned over at the casualty count and western minds are more interested in the new i-phone than anything going on in Kabul.
Whilst the enemy is barbaric we haven't managed to alienate him from the population because for every beheading he does we slip up with a Koran burning, urination video or air-to-surface weapon that, despite our best efforts, has tragic consequences.
We have never put enough boots on the ground to truly hold it. We have never created the environment in which all the work that is needed can be achieved by unarmed agencies.
To cap it all we told the enemy when we were leaving, and I doubt very much they use powerpoint to brief but if they did they'd have a simple bar chart of 'blue-on-greens required until exit point'.
The really sad thing about this is of course the daily industry and heroism of our boys and girls, pan-coalition, which has never been in doubt and has never been anything other than humbling. I am sure that Afghanistan is, as a result of our combined efforts, a far better place than it was and that we have made a real difference. But that's not the same as 'winning' which I would define as 'ensuring it'll continue when we're gone'.
PP....Oil was it....is it....really? Of course you can prove that statement by telling us who is buying all this Iraqi oil and where it is being shipped to I guess.
BY JASON SIMPKINS, Managing Editor, Money Morning Iraq has auctioned off more proven oil reserves in the past six months than are collectively held by the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
But U.S. oil companies have signed surprisingly few development contracts – foreign rivals have swooped in to scoop up major deals.
Take last weekend, when Iraq wrapped up the biggest oil-field auction in history. Major new deals were announced by Europe's Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS.A , RDS.B), OAO Gazprom (OTC ADR: OGZPY), Lukoil (OTC ADR: LUKOY), China's China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas).
The U.S. oil majors – ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) – were nowhere to be seen.
"Just a total waste of life, time and resources for no actual benefit. "
There will be a lot of Afghan millionaires with fat bank accounts in Switzerland by the time the West leaves (granted, many will have to buy somewhere outside Afghanistan to live, but money talks). The rest will live in the north under a reconstituted Northern Alliance. Much the same as pre 2001, but with a lot more money in a few pockets, and lots of new 4 wheel drives and Mercedes.
Amen Load and Beags! I absolutely agree with you....I would have the Lads and Lasses on the way home by Noon.....pack their personal kit....load up the airplanes....and make the big airfields look like the approaches to Dunkirk beach....one huge parking lot. One difference....i would take all our money with us....cut of funding to them and give them all the upraised single digit (or two digits as appropriate).
We stayed too long....tried to use our militaries as "Nation Builders" yet again and lost way too many brave and dedicated young folks in the process. The Strategy and political resolve failed our Troops once again.
The next time a President wants to take the Nation to War better be prepared for a fight right here at home unless he has a very clear, concise, patently clear reason for us to kick off another one and the goal best be one of Total War....mobilize the Reserves, the American People, and the entire Economy to the single purpose of fighting a WAR. Never again just the Military going to War.....That has the been the way since Korea and nothing good has resulted from that mindset.
The reason it's a bag of spanners is, I'm afraid, down to the politicians (of all hues and nationalities) being largely incompetent and more interested in power games and politics rather than endstates. There, said it.
The military was sent in to defeat AQ and the Taleban. Tick VG for the first, a sort of tick for the second. However, Afghanistan is the perfect example of what happens when politics interferes with military operations. You can have a military success on the battlefield but overall campaign failure because your campaign is so complex and interlinked with other factors that the military is but one small part.
A failure to deploy the military with a defined endstate and a left / right of arc and a full set of rules and political guidance and direction, then relying on the miltary judgement of the commanders to achieve that end state has led us to where we are now. Constant low level fighting with the odd spike of horrific and needless violence, but without moving further forwad. Unless the politicians can sort something out, frankly this situation could go on for years without resolution. For over a decade the various militaries have performed admirably in Afghanistan, but the politicians' performance has sadly not been quite as successful and that is where we now need to be concentrating and asking serious questions.
Last edited by Melchett01; 22nd Sep 2012 at 12:18.