The sun had just set this evening when the alarm went off – “Condition Red”. Everyone, including us, ran to find our body armor and helmets. Mortars hit near Camp Bostick, where we are currently based, but three other locations were also attacked at the same time. Two of them were nearby small outposts. The last attack was against Camp Bostick’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) shortly after it left the base to reinforce one of the smaller outposts that was under attack.
It wasn’t long before Camp Bostick’s 155 mm Howitzers began a barrage of counter-fire. Fighter jets and attack helicopters scrambled and literally stacked up in the skies above us in case the Taliban/Al Qaeda were launching a major, sustained attack.
Then, as suddenly as it began, the attackers broke off contact. Sergeants roamed the base to make sure all personel were accounted for. Carlos and I were among the first they tracked down. They take good care of us here!
Now the question is why. Why would the Taliban, or whoever it was shooting at us, go to the trouble of launching a complicated simultaneous assault – then disappear? NATO forces in the east of Afghanistan have long expected a Taliban/Al Qaeda offensive in this region. A probing attack in advance of a larger assault is not out of the question.
There is no doubt that the anti-Afghan forces or AAF as the U.S. military calls them, were emboldened by their success in overrunning Outpost Bar Alai earlier this month. Three Americans, two Latvians and five Afghan soldiers were killed in that attack. (See our earlier blog on our visit to Bar Alai). It would not be a shock if they tried to duplicate that success.
Whatever the reason for tonight’s attack, everyone here is on high alert at this mountain base two miles from the Pakistan border.