MPs criticise British military over fatal Taliban attack


LONDON: British lawmakers said military commanders had been complacent in a deadly 2012 Taliban attack on their base in Afghanistan, in which two US marines were killed.
The House of Commons Defence Committee, a cross-party panel of MPs, said in a report published Wednesday that protection measures around the perimeter of Camp Bastion had been “inadequate”.
Their report said “insufficient attention” had been paid to defending the sprawling base in the southern Helmand province.
The assault on Camp Bastion in September 2012 was one of the most brazen in Afghanistan by the hardline Taliban insurgents.
Fifteen Taliban commandos, armed with suicide vests, guns and rockets and wearing US uniforms, breached the perimeter wall. Fourteen were killed and the surviving insurgent was captured.
The US Camp Leatherneck is within the complex. Two US marines were killed, eight others wounded and six US Harrier fighter jets were destroyed with grenades. The US Marine Corps commandant sacked two generals in October last year in response to the attack.
Britain’s Prince Harry, fourth in line to the throne, was at the base at the time, serving as an army attack helicopter pilot. He was about two kilometres (over one mile) away and was moved to a guarded location as the battle unfolded. “The arrangements for manning of the guard towers around the perimeter of Camp Bastion were exposed by the attack as inadequate,” the MPs’ report said.
It said the decision not to man one particular tower “contributed directly to the failure to detect the insurgents at an early stage which might have limited the impact of their assault”. “Insufficient attention was given to the fundamental requirement of defending Camp Bastion from external assault. 

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