I’m sitting at my desk surfing the web when in rushes the boss whom I like to call War Granny Six. “We are going to be attacked between 2100 and 2130!” He says in excited tones. I look at him as if to say; “And?” He starts telling me and the other guy in the office that we need to go to the bunkers and assume a “defensive posture.” I chuckle under my breath. I have no weapon so I’m left to wonder exactly what kind of defense I’m supposed to mount on this night. Commando Blade Attack!!! That’d be posturing alright and not much more. He tells us that we need to turn off the lights and head to the bunker. I don’t feel like arguing so I just gather my iPod and head out across camp to our deluxe bunker in my sector of camp.
It’s about 2050hrs as we head out to the bunkers. Along the way, we pass the “Camp Theatre.” It’s 20 foot screen on the outside of the Dining Facility. All the lights are still on in the camp. The Post CSM is sitting outside with about 20 other soldiers watching Employee of the Month. Our Med cadre walks to the front of the screen and announces that we have been informed of an imminent attack. I chuckle and move on towards the bunker. I don’t want to be seen with Chicken Little Prime.
So here is how it went down–our warning order.
Apparently, the ANA had captured a talib or a drug smuggler. The Talib confessed to all manner of crimes. More than likely after the ANA beat him to within an inch of his life. Among the confessions is a plan to attack our little compound on the outskirts of Herat.
The ANA “intel” guys relay this to the ANA TOC who relay it to the U.S. TOC (Tactical Operations Center).
That’s when we get the message.
That may be the truth of how that information was obtained. It may even have been good data. But I doubt it.
I’ve been in Afghanistan for a while now. I think I have a good feel for how things happen here. I’ve been through several of these Rocket Attacks. I won’t lie. The first few. I was “Oh GAWD, I”M GONNA DIE” scared. I sat in the bunker and damn near soiled myself. But after going through a few of these attacks. After sitting around watching rockets fly over, hearing the reports, hearing the rounds fall on the far side of this base or that FOB and The bandits or talibs or whoever hit nothing. Then you hear the tales of all of the masterful (READ: Incompetent, insha’allah, idiotic) tactics. One can become immune to fear of these guys. I’m sure it’s different in Iraq. But here in Afghanistan, they shoot and run. They don’t stay and fight. Most often, they lean a rocket against a rock or tree and point it in the general direction of a target and leave. Trusting to God that the strike will be a grand success. The tried and true “Insha’allah targeting system.”
Well, God must not be on their side. Though, occasionally luck is with them.
I’ve heard of one guy killed in an attack of this nature down in Qandahar and one Army Major wounded by shrapnel in Bagram. The 18 months that I was in Bagram, only the one Major was wounded.
Most times, the bandits hit the major bases around Midnight or early morning like 0200. I know that some FOBs in the east and south are hit during the daytime. If they were smart they would target the DFACs at the Noon or Evening meal. A packed house would allow for max casualties. But, thank God, these people are lazy and ignorant.
On this night, I stopped by my hooch to pick up my camera just in case. If I see a rocket screaming overhead, maybe I can get a picture of it.
So we mosey on over to the bunkers. I walk in and immediately offer odds. 20 to one that it’s a false alarm.
I seriously doubt that we got any real “intel.” My guess is it’s fabricated because the Afghan Intel guys are under pressure because they had no idea that there was going to be an attack two nights prior. So they make this up to make themselves look good. If there is an attack, they warned us. If not, no skin off their backs. They knew it wasn’t going to happen anyway. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Afghans have done such a thing to save face. Sorry ass insha’allah bastards that they are.
So we sit in the bunkers from 2100 to 2130. Of course, nothing happens. We all mosey on back to our hooches to go to sleep or continue our nights activities. I laugh out loud because I knew it was all nonsense. And so, Ron and I stop to take pictures to irreverently commemorate the nights hilarity.
This video was taken here in Afghanistan. It will give you an idea of your average rocket attack. Although, I’ve never been through a daytime attack. I’ve been shot at once or twice with small arms fire in the daytime. Never rockets or mortars, though. Again, though, the FOBs and the areas in the East and South are far different than the West and North. Kabul and the Centre are entirely different animals. Anything goes there. And it’s not always who you’d suspect. Or maybe it is…