Iraqis say attackers impersonated Americans

AP/Army Times (not an official military outlet) is reporting that

Iraqi officials said Sunday that the gunmen who attacked the provincial headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing five U.S. troops, were wearing military uniforms and drove up in black sport utility vehicles commonly used by foreign dignitaries — an apparent attempt to impersonate Americans.

The account came as confusion mounted over the brazen attack, with the local governor saying the gunmen stormed into the building during a U.S.-Iraqi meeting to discuss security measures ahead of the Shiite Ashoura festival.

and

In the Karbala incident, provincial Gov. Akeel al-Khazaali, who was not at the security meeting, said the SUVs were able to get through a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city, 50 miles south of Baghdad, because police assumed it was a diplomatic convoy and informed headquarters that it was coming.

–The group used percussion bombs and broke into the building, killed five Americans and kidnapped two others, then fled to the area near Mussayib,” about 20 kilometers to the north, the governor said, adding that Iraqi troops later found one of the SUVs with the three dead bodies dressed in military uniforms. [emphasis Murdoc’s]

The Army says all personnel are accounted for and that no one was kidnapped. Perhaps witnesses saw fleeing insurgents in US uniforms and thought that they were captives?

Comments

  1. If it really went down that way………I can’t say I’m shocked. I worked with Palestinian Security Forces for the last two years, and have closely observed a number of Afghani police units over the last six months. A very persistent trait with most of the units I’ve seen has been complacency and slackness, e.g. ‘wave ’em on through, Hamid, it’s more Americans’. No need to check IDs, look at the passengers closely, let alone actually conduct a vehicle search (when appropriate). A large part of it is a lack of long term training (one of the current training programs I’m familiar with is for only two weeks!) and mentoring, and it’s certainly cultural and social as well (tribalistic, paternalistic, centralised cultures & hierarchies do not encourage initiative). The attitudes and habits can be overcome, but training agencies probably need to work closely with the local national security forces for a much longer period than is frequently the case.

  2. ‘The attitudes and habits can be overcome, but training agencies probably need to work closely with the local national security forces for a much longer period than is frequently the case.’ Yup Flanker you are correct. We (American military) proved it with the ROK’s 55 years ago. It can be done again in Iraq. Just need the time and correct motivation.