May 20th, 2010
10:33 PM ET

Official: Bagram attackers wore U.S.-style uniforms

Insurgents who attacked Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Wednesday were wearing U.S. Army-style battle fatigue uniforms, according to a U.S. military official who has seen initial eyewitness accounts of the attack.

A second U.S. military official confirmed the initial accounts but said he did not know if all of the attackers were wearing U.S.-style uniforms.

The officials did not want to be identified because of the ongoing investigation.

Neither official could say whether the uniforms were stolen, or how the insurgents came into possession of them. U.S. military-style items are available on the internet for purchase.

Attackers had AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and "typical Middle Eastern load-carrying equipment" such as ammunition belts and other military accessories, according to the first official.

The official said attackers approached the base at three points and began by firing rockets at the northeastern sector of the base. The ground attack came from the west. Attackers were on foot and also fired from at least one vehicle. Four were wearing suicide vests, according to the U.S. military, although none were able to detonate the explosives.

U.S. troops killed 16 attackers using air and ground fire.

The attack began at 3 a.m. local time with two rockets fired, with the bulk of the small-arms fighting occurring between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. A mortar damaged the base's laundry facility and slightly damaged the hospital. Sporadic small arms fire continued for three to four hours.

U.S. troops pursued insurgents outside the base. During the pursuit, one soldier stepped on an old Russian mine and had to be rescued.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Rick

    How is the soldier who stepped on the mine ding? I assume it was an A.P.?

    May 21, 2010 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      When I was deployed to Bagram, we did do our own laundry, at least on the AF Side. But insurgents can order uniforms on line. All I can say is thank God, we had our soldiers, marines or airmen on the peremieter defending the base. It happened at O dark thirty, and the man/women standing guard did what they have been trained to do.... God Bless them, as we should every day. Freedom is not free.....

      May 21, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Problem is that much of the world has come to the conclusion (even our usual allies like Britain) that we are just trying to get oil from Iraq and Afghanistan.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scotty

    He lost his leg.

    May 21, 2010 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      The soldier who stepped on the land mine didn't lose his leg. He lost his foot.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Anonyms Deployed

    I was not surprised to hear they had U.S. Uniforms. The interpreters are wearing U.S. uniforms. The local afghan police and army have our weapons, our old vehicles, I even seen helicopters now with the ANA logos on it. The people do not have a sense of choosing a side and sticking to it. It is whatever benefits their current situation at the moment. The Taliban is not a certain person, it can be anyone and everyone here. There can be one day (we) the military comes through, they'll tell you where IED's are hidden. If you accidentally stepped on a plant of theirs, their friendliness changes in which you should expect an IED buried in front of his house with him sitting in his back yard ready to detonate the next day. Its kind of demotivating.

    May 21, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
    • lafenmom

      God bless you – keep your head lower than your ass and come home safe.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      They sound like us then, picking sides when it suits us. We used to support Afghanistan when it fought the russians (and won) and then we turned on them, when the hijackers (who were predominately from Saudi Arabia) trained there. Would we have turned on Canada if they had trained there in the wilderness? We pick and choose sides – and we clearly decide our "relations" with Saudi Arabia, trumped the reality that they were all from there. So they trained in Afghanistan...does that mean all of Afghanistan was supporting them? Heck no, but we really didnt care...we had to put on a show. It wasnt even a real "response" to 9/11 we went in there and came right back out – so that we can focus on the "real target" Iraq. We need to look hard in the mirror before we start critiquing what other people in other nations are choosing to do for their own survival.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • bob1stshirt

      Jessica, I can't believe you can be so ill-informed. First, when did we change sides in Afghanistan? We supported insurgents when they, rightly, fought against Soviet invaders who were looking to expand their evil empire. We still support Afghanistan now. That's why we're involved in construction projects to improve the lives of Afghans and why we're fighting to eliminate the Taliban. Our presence in Afghanistan was precipitated by terrorist attacks committed by Al-Queda, with Taliban support.

      Surely, there's a difference between invasion with the intent to expand an empire and a military operation as a defensive response to an enemy attack?

      And, secondly, what's wrong with "changing sides" or changing you focus when you find a more threatening enemy? We allied with Joseph Stalin because Hitler was, at the time, the more threatening enemy. After Hitler was vanquished we opposed Uncle Joe and the Soviet Union because, wait for it... the Soviet Union had become the more threatening enemy.

      Sheeesh! You really don't understand the dynamics of international relations, do you?

      May 21, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • beentheredonethat

      We are not at war with all of afgan, we are at war with the Taliban. If they were training in Canada Im sure we would go there, except they have their own military and Im sure they would take care of it. Bob you said it all man. Thanks.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert


      Your ignorance has already been dealt with by the previous respondents. The only thing I have left to say is go back to the kitchen and shut up.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Native American

      God bless you and keep you safe.

      I pray for all my brothers and sister to come home soon.

      Take care....

      May 21, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army in San Antonio

      Well.....Jessica is partly correct.

      If I recall correctly (and I certainly do) the Afghans we supported against the Russians were.....OK.....wait for this now....THE TALIBAN!!!

      However, Jessica is in error when she implied that how target for response should've been the Saudis. While most of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis, it was the Afghan gov't. (The Taliban) that welcomed AlQueda into the country and ALLOWED AlQueda to train there. The Saudi gov't had no role (as far as can be determined) in the attack; and directing a 'response' at Saudi Arabia would've been beyond dumb.

      In this wasn't us who switched sides, it was the Taliban. Since after we aided them in their fight against the Russians, they allowed an anti-US organization to train and launch a terrorist attack against us from their 'soil'.

      As for Iraq......well........

      May 21, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      You are absolutely right. Anyone who does not see this is ignorant or brainwashed. Picture of Donald Rumsfeld with Saddam Hussein? As far as I am concerned the US is partially responsible for the murder of a foreign president. WE GAVE THE TALIBAN STINGER MISSILE LAUNCHERS in the 80s when it was in our interest. All that opium growing over there wasn't so bad back then was it? Ironically during the height of "The War on Drugs". How about Operation Ajax? Now Iran is up for sanctions. I wonder how they got all those F-14's? Our military would be obsolete if it weren't for the states we have provided arms to. Don't you get it? You are all puppets!

      May 21, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      I seriously doubt that what Anonyms Deployed is true. Frankly, NO ONE IN THE WORLD is that emo to be doing that.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • bob1stshirt

      Ret'd Army and Andrew: Yes, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan we gave stinger missles, and other arms, to the Afghans fighting against the Soviets. Some of those missles probably ended up in the hands of what became the Taliban. SO WHAT! Once again, this is the doctrine of the greater evil. At that time, the Soviet Union was the greater evil. Providing arms to an impoverished people so they could fight for their own freedom is laudable AND honorable.

      After the Soviets were kicked out, the Taliban went on a dictatorial sweep to take over Afghanistan themselves. If you recall, the only group still standing in opposition to the Taliban, at the time of 9/11, was the Northern Alliance. The NA provided intelligence and on-the-ground support to US Special Forces when they first entered Afghanistan.

      Why is everyone so quick to make our own government out as the bad guy? So what if we provided arms to the Taliban, along with a lot of other Afghanis, when they fought the Soviet Union! That was the right thing to do then, just as fighting to oppose the Taliban is the right thing to do now.

      May 21, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Cook

      Wouldn't these troops be better deployed in N. Korea to deal with an unfinished war? With a country that actually attacked one of our friends. And they have their own uniforms.

      May 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    LoL, did these insurgents think they could easily penetrate BAF? They musve been smoking too much hookah. And where is the Taliban leadership? I bet hiding somewhere safe,being fat, dumb and happy that they werent the ones whacked.

    May 21, 2010 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
    • daniel

      and our presidents fight our wars? Of course they are hiding...they are just like us.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. lafenmom

    I was screaming about this two years ago when my son was in Iraq and he told me they had Iraqi civilians, hired by Haliburton, doing their laundry, providing supplies, and guarding their water supplies. Haliburton paid the civilians $10 US to clean a bag of uniforms that the government paid Haliburton $100 US to launder.

    We've completely lost it when we allowed civilians to do ANYthing with our military. You DON"T allow the enemy anywhere near your food, water, uniforms, or other supplies. A good military is self-contained.

    Another reason Cheny and his co-horts at Haliburton et al should be brought up on charges of treason and theft.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I wish it was that simple, but like with all things it's about money. We pick these guys up more often than not from places like Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and local nationals of course and they are pretty nice people overall I must say. They usually tend to have Christians working with our food though, I think because they don't want to take the chance of one normally great Muslim getting disheartened and harming our soldiers.
      On one hand we save money because we don't have to pay these people so well, and then we try to win hearts and minds around the world by employing hundreds of thousands of people around the world.... But on the flip side, we can only do so much screening of people.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • rhombus2210

      Iraqi civilians are not the enemy...

      May 21, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army in San Antonio


      I essentually agree with your post.....EXCEPT.....the part about 'saving money because we don't have to pay those civilians so much'.

      As the first poster stated.....we (the gov't, vis-a-vis the tax payer) paid Haliburton exhorbatant 'fees' to have work performed in the Area of Operations. Haliburton turns around and pays civilians to do the menial work; paying them virtually bread crumbs and reaping HUGE profits.

      I'm jus' sayin'.......

      May 21, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      James...while I agree with almost everything you said, I think you might be a little off base about saving money. Haliburton and their ilk were paid from the pockets of while We The People paid $100 to launder a bag of clothes, the good pirates of Haliburton parted with $10, and pocketed $90.
      ...and the military has quartermasters to do laundry...there is no reason other than good old fashioned greed and contempt for the average We The People to account for no bid work going to criminals like Haliburton....or are they good capitalistic, free market Americans.

      We do need to win their hearts, maybe Haliburton being the great Americans they are, could use some of the $$ they pocket to estalish infrastructure for those people, THAT whould win their hearts and minds...

      May 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D375

    Holy crap its a small world, the guy who lost his foot (not leg), his girlfriend works at enterprise with mine. She left work to be with his family when she got the call. I had no idea that what happened to him was connected with the BAF attack.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sara

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out how they got US Uniforms at Bagram. Local Nationals did our laundry and they would somehow "lose" our laundry bags. Hmmmmmm. DUH! Get fellow Americans to do the laundry or give us a place to do our own.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      Or maybe the uniforms are "Made in Pakistan" and they got them directly from the manufacturer 🙂

      May 21, 2010 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • StrykerG

      Go online to and purchase all the military gear you want. If you don't like the US Army style they sell military gear from other countries too.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chris Henry

    Anonyms Deployed makes great points. When will we as a people and nation and our rogue government (that just forcefully takes our money and does whatever it wants with it, taxation without representation, cause of the original Boston Tea Part and the American Revolution) UNDERSTAND that Afghans and Iraqis for the most part DO NOT have a sense of nationalism or patriotism and DO NOT WANT NOR CARE about having a centralized government? When will our "gubmint" stop trying to change their culture into ours? No wonder we as Americans are so hated because of what our government does in our names with our money.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Just remember it was Bushy jr that decided to change the middle east to democracy. I don't personally care for Obama, but at least he is trying to get us the hell out of there. Of course, the minute we leave it will become know as Al Qaida central. I got a giant laugh when he forced elections on Palestine, and then they elected Hamas to lead them. He got his duly elected government and couldn’t say thing one about it. One of those be careful what you ask for things. Everyone always tries to blame the current government for the priors mistakes. Bushy jr turned every nation (literally) in the world against us, and all of the dyed in the wool right wingers were saying that was okay we can go it alone. Obviously they never checked our trade deficit. Now Obama is trying to fix a lot of that and it is driving them crazy. I do have my problems with some of the things he is doing, but I wont blame him for his attempts to clean up the mess Bushy left.

      May 21, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. miamisun

    They send in the poor, stupid, and hopeless youth that have nothing to lose so there will never be an end to this. If you have nothing to live for and some guy with money comes to you and says if you do this for "religion" I will make sure your wife and kids are fed you are going to do the same. It is just the wealthy with an agenda exploiting there own people and that's all there is to it. We have no business there, our men deserve better than to be there, we are not accomplishing anything because were not fighting a real military or gaining land for strategic positioning or anything else. If we need a base there we could just put it there heavily fortify it and tell them all to F off but no we have men patrolling bobby trapped streets and being attacked by the same old lady that they helped the day before who smiled and thanked them.

    May 21, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. citizenUSA

    Easy fix. Every country has it's own colors. If your a civilian you have your own "outfit." If you you look like a local and are wearing the wrong outfit, you're dead.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Of course they did. This is a guerrilla war, after all. That is why it is ridiculous for anyone to expect that there would NOT be civilian casualties.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Has anyone considered that the individuals who did the terrorist act could have been members of the military? It would be the ultimate spy role. Just because someone is from America or is American does not mean they cannot be a terrorist especially when 'American' is not tied to any specific race.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • clinton

      You're an idiot and I'm guessing an mediocre conspiracy theorist (at best).

      May 21, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. Terry

    We had the same thing in Viet Nam. Supply Depots were constantly being broken into, primarily to gain access to weapons, however uniforms were taken. During one suicide raid, we killed two dozen intruders who were wearing US Issue Uniforms. End result, you learn to shoot anyone coming toward you and apologize later for friendly fire hitting one of your own. The US has placed our young troops into situations that they are not familiar with, and it takes a commanding officer with real balls to stand with his troops when people say they killed civilians. In one raid, we killed the local barber and the man who ran the local ice house, each dressed like a US Soldier. War sucks! Please bring our troops home. Politics and Soldiering do not mix. Soldiers use real bullets and there is little time for prime time spin shots of politicians who never served in a combat zone.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Robert

    First of all, were you ever in the military? Second, have you ever been deployed? Since you decided to comment on one of my brother’s who decided to share his views on this situation and has been ordered to deploy to an unforgiving country to HELP the people of that country, I’ll comment on your comment. They do not sound like us, they are trying to make a living but they are intelligent people that are uneducated. If that makes sense. They see opportunity they will take it. They are like us in that they do what is necessary to survive. They plant opium because it's easier then wheat. When the Russians were there, they were trying to take over the country. We were helping them liberate themselves from communist, who were trying to take over the country. We are there to help them be self-sufficient. We haven’t turned on Afghanistan…where did you get that…? We are still in Afghanistan trying to help them against groups like Al-Qaida and Taliban. We’re not there to attack the people of Afghanistan! And, your example of Canada makes no sense. This and everything about this is a response to 9/11. Get it through your head. We didn’t go there for the view, this is the source of money and training. Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Middle East. All of it. It’s where it begins and then they come to America to attack. This is a RESPONSE to us getting attacked in our country for living like we do. The insurgents, not the Afghan people don’t like our ways and to them the good book tells them they need to rid the world of evil…that’s us by the way in case you didn’t know because we believe in freedom. Even the freedom for you to speak your mind, which you wouldn’t be able to do in their country unless you got permission. So I say to you Jessica, look hard at a book, read a little something before you try giving your opinion on how my military family decides to vent his frustration. Thanks.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • StrykerG

      Robert I want to say Thank You. There are many armchair polities and wise men/women in this world and they have that freedom to do just that. Being a combat vet I know from experience that things are never what the media displays for it's readers. Personally I don't believe in free press, the press has killed more people than it has helped and has given away more critical information the any spy ever could. But nonetheless it's all part of freedom. My point is this: There will be those who know nothing of the real truth and most of those care even less to learn about it. If the Afghan situation were to happen here on our homeland you could bet those individuals would be the first to cower and give up their rights only to preserve themselves. Don't waste your time trying to reason with them, I gave up a long time ago. They do not have the intellect or courage to find out first hand what the truth really is. And they do not have the DIGNITY, HONOR, AND RESPECT for individual rights and freedom.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Linda

    I have one word to express my feelings for people who won't fight hand to hand combat, wear masks [while fighting and killing], smear their own religion only to have it conform to their delusional beliefs, and kill women and children on a regular basis-C.O.W.A.R.D.S!

    May 21, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Sally

      What have you been smoking?? wont fight hand to hand combat? you mean like the US military that calls in air support during almost EVERY SINGLE engagement with the enemy? or sit in a tank thats basically untouchable? And wearing masks? You mean like the the special operations soldiers of the US? or SWAT teams? I have one word to express who you are – I.D.I.O.T!

      May 21, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerome

      How is it cowardly to be willing to fight the strongest nation on earth?

      May 21, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • bob1stshirt

      Gee, Sally, you know absolutely nothing about the fight in Afghanistan if you think we call in airstrikes in every single engagement. Not even close, all-not-knowing one!

      I have one word for you, Sally: I.G.N.O.R.A.N.T.

      May 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
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