Insurgents wearing U.S. uniforms attack 2 bases in Afghanistan

FOB Salerno and Camp Chapman, Afghanistan:

Insurgents wearing U.S. Army uniforms launched pre-dawn attacks Saturday on a major NATO base in eastern Afghanistan and a nearby camp where seven CIA employees were killed last year in a suicide bombing. NATO said there were no coalition casualties and the attacks were repelled.

At least 21 attackers were killed and five were captured. Some of the dead were wearing uniforms at least similar in appearance to US military uniforms. It’s unclear exactly how “similar” the uniforms really were. To the untrained eye (and that includes most members of the media), many military/tactical uniforms appear “almost identical” despite differences that are readily apparent to laymen like Murdoc.

To be honest, it seems a lot more likely that the uniforms were those of the Afghan military, most of which appears to be older-style US uniforms. That’s pure speculation.

After being repulsed at the bases, the attackers headed for some nearby government offices, but were driven off. Two Afghan soldiers were apparently killed in the fighting, but it’s unclear from the story if they were at the coalition bases or defending the government offices.

Also, police captured a light truck “packed with explosives” that had become stuck in the mud. Another point for tracked vehicles over wheeled in the ‘Stan.

I’ve long wondered about the lack of reports about insurgents/terrorists trying to use US uniforms in attacks. I honestly though we’d be seeing a lot of that, but I haven’t heard too much of it. I recall a report in the days before the invasion of Iraq about a bunch of missing US uniforms, and I thought I blogged about it at the time and wondered if we’d see Fedayeen Saddam trying to use them to get close enough to cause some damage.

Apparently, it’s either tougher to get a hold of genuine uniforms than I’d expect or, more likely, our guys just ain’t falling for that shit.


  1. Which uniforms? BDU, ACU, DIGICAM, SF COTS, etc.. The “at least similar” to me means more than likely they were wearing some type of camo. I think that the writer is getting excited instead of reporting.

    1. As noted, that’s very possible, maybe even most likely.

      On the other hand, I would not expect reporters to know the difference between most of the specific uniforms.

  2. I think I know who gave them those US Army uniforms; the US Army.

    Most of the recruits that sign-up for the ANA go through the motions of training, and as soon as they’ve been issued US-made uniforms, weapons, and equipment, they disappear back into the countryside and sell it all.

    And guess who they sell it to? I’ll give you a hint; their name starts with a “T”.

    Then they come back and “enlist” again, under a different name, and repeat the same process all over again… and again, and again, and again.

  3. The ANA uniforms come in two flavors: those in the old woodland camo pattern, or a green-based digicam (the guy in the center of the ANP pickup photo in the post above is wearing those.) Neither would be mistaken for ‘US Army uniforms’ by anyone in Afghanistan.

    When the TB attacked Bagram this spring, several of them were actually wearing ACU pattern uniforms, the source of which was likely Pakistan, since cargo containers, some containing US uniforms, moving through there are routinely pilfered. Not specifically for uniforms, they just clean out the containers.

    But the uniforms aren’t likely to fool anyone on perimeter security at a US base. For starters, the average Afghan is a good bit shorter and skinnier than the average American. Add to that the complete lack of body armor and helmets, plus AKs instead of M4s, and they’re not fooling anyone, even through night vision. Also, none of the dead guys from the Bagram attack (yes, I saw pictures) managed to get his hands on any US type desert color boots. Score one for big American feet.

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