Taliban fighters have launched an offensive on a US Special Operations base near Kabul. Current casualty reports are unconfirmed, but based on NY Times reports, along with other news agencies, at least one American soldier was killed. A total of up to 9 members of coalition forces may have been killed in the attack. Numerous wounded were reported.
The attack occurred at Camp Integrity, Academi’s (formerly Blackwater) primary base of operations in the country. According to a Reuters report, a car bomb was used to breech the base and an intense firefight followed:
The blast outside the base was powerful enough to flatten offices inside, wounding occupants who were airlifted by helicopter to military hospitals during the night.
“There was a big explosion at the gate … (The gunfire) sounded like it came from two different sides,” said a special forces member who was wounded when his office collapsed.
The initial blast caused by a suicide car bomb at the gate was followed by other explosions and a firefight that lasted a couple of hours, he said.
Here are some details on the base from a 2012 Wired article:
Academi, once known as Blackwater, operates a 435,600 square-foot “forward operating base” — which is what the U.S. military calls its warzone outposts — called Camp Integrity. Among other things, it’s a hub for information about the sprawling campaign against Afghan narcotics. And it even has its own t-shirt for sale, shown above, on Academi’s online swag store.
The little-known facility, located near Kabul International Airport, has been home to Blackwater/Academi’s Afghanistan operations since 2009. The base features a “24/7 operations center, fueling stations, vehicle maintenance facility, lodging, office and conference space and a fortified armory,” says John Procter, a spokesman for the company. Some online descriptions of Camp Integrity describe it as a hub for security contractors from different companies as well.
The attack follows several days of increasing violence in Afghanistan. This month will be one of the most deadly in the country in several years. Dozens have been killed and hundreds wounded in this latest wave of violence.