IT HAS emerged that the US-UK forces lost six Harrier jump jets – completely destroyed with two more badly damaged – in the highly professional Taleban raid on Camp Bastion, which NATO could not prevent happening and during which NATO was unable to defend its assets on the base.
The Harrier jets were US-owned, and belonged to the Yuma based VMA-211 group who relocated their Harrier AV-8B jump jets from Kandahar to Bastion air field on July 1st.
The group also lost one helicopter destroyed during the Taleban commando raid that evaded all of the extensive electronic surveillance technology defending the massive base and penetrated to its heart, during which the base was put under lock-down.
The Arizona-based Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 is nicknamed ‘the Avengers’.
In addition to two deaths, nine other coalition personnel were wounded in the assault on Camp Bastion that began just after 10.00pm Friday, according to details released by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
NATO Authorities believe that 15 insurgents dressed in US Army uniforms penetrated the base’s perimeter fence and assaulted the flight line with small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide vests.
The insurgents, organised into three teams, were well-equipped, trained and rehearsed, ISAF officials said.
The sprawling base is normally considered relatively safe because of its remote location in the desert and clear sight lines. Other than air wing personnel, most US Marines are located on the adjacent Camp Leatherneck side of the international base, which has housed upwards of 28,000 during the peak of the war campaign.
The base was finally secured early Saturday morning, military officials said.
Both fixed-wing and rotor craft were attacked, coalition officials said. Each of the six Harrier jets that were destroyed costs at least $24 million.
Apparently, the British-run base and its leadership were in a state of ultra-complacency and gripped by the ‘We’re too strong, the Taleban will never dare to attack us here’ syndrome.
At the minimum, the Taleban success will have punctured the illusion that this is a war that the Taleban cannot win – some say that they have won it! Ahead for the base commanders can only be courts martial and severe punishment for allowing the destruction of the Harrier fleet to take place – the planes were allegedly parked in the open, awaiting attack.
This significant military defeat for the NATO forces in Afghanistan combined with the growing number of attacks on them by the very forces that they have been training – usually supporters of the Northern Alliance and definitely not supporters of the Taleban – underlines that 90 per cent of the Afghans have had enough of this particular foreign presence and that now is the time for the NATO forces to exit while they still can.
The Afghan experience proves once again that the imperialist powers have got their work cut out as they try to reimpose imperialist control over the peoples and resources of Asia.
The majority of British workers do not support the Afghan war. Many workers and youth in the UK understand that their enemy is at home. It is not the Taleban, it is the coalition that is attempting to turn them into paupers so that the bosses and bankers will survive the current crisis of capitalism at their expense.
UK workers must support the defeat of imperialist forces in Asia.
In fact, they must finish the job by rising up to bring down the Tory-led coalition and bring in a workers government and socialism. Putting an end to British capitalism will be a great victory for the workers and poor of the world and constitute a huge step towards the victory of the world socialist revolution.