KABUL AIRPORT, AFGHANISTAN – There cannot be much worse than having an army officer/terrorist kill you when you are there to help train him and his colleagues to combat terrorism.
In the wake of 9/11 there was a tendency to see counter terrorism (CT) primarily as a military-led objective. This was a shift from the pre-9/11 days where security intelligence and law enforcement agencies were at the pointy end of the stick. It did not help when then US President Bush called CT a ‘war on terrorism‘ (psst, Mr. President! Declaring wars on common nouns is rarely a good idea. War on drugs, anyone?).
As a consequence the US sent hundreds of thousands of troops to Afghanistan to find and punish the perpetrators of that heinous attack on New York and Washington and, less than two years later, a similar number to Iraq to…to what exactly? Neither ended well, whether we are talking about the effect on terrorism or on the local population.
Part of the raison d’etre was also to provide training to Afghan/Iraq forces to do their CT work, allowing the invading forces to leave. There, too, the results were mixed. Sometimes, those troops themselves were attacked by the very soldiers they thought were on their side.
On this day in 2001
Eight US troops and a US contractor were killed by an Afghan air force pilot at Kabul airport. While there were allegations that the pilot may have had mental health issues, the Taliban claimed he acted on their behalf.
Suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, shooting started. After the shooting started, we saw a number of Afghan army officers and soldiers running out of the building. Some were even throwing themselves out of the windows to get away.Spokesman for the Afghan Air Corps, Col Bahader
During the Afghan mission there were those who feared that rapid recruitment into the Afghan military would open the door to Taliban infiltration into the police and army. It looks like that fear was justified.
Read More Today in Terrorism
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.