Photo: Video via CNN
We reported earlier in the week that U.S. Marines and soldiers were ready for retaliation and greater risk following recent controversies in Afghanistan.In connection to this, more information has been revealed about the driver of a stolen truck that breached security at Camp Bastion airfield and sped towards Marines awaiting defence Secretary Leon Panetta to disembark yesterday.
He was an Afghan interpreter working for the international forces, confirmed Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparotti, deputy commander of U.S. troops, according to the Associated Press. The man carjacked a vehicle from the airfield and ran over a British soldier as he sped off towards the airstrip.
This would make the incident the latest attempt by an Afghan from within the international forces community to try to attack Western troops. And it’s the exact thing troops have been expecting since the weekend’s rogue shooting of Kandahar civilians by an American soldier.
defence officials had been quick to brush off the incident, saying they didn’t believe it was an attack on Panetta.
“This is a war area,” Panetta told gathered reporters in Afghanistan. “We’re going to get these kinds of incidents.”
It’s getting clearer now that it was the guys on the ground who were the target. From Lt. Gen. Scaparotti’s perspective, the man intended to harm those assembled on the tarmac at the time — the Marines.
“My personal opinion is yes, I think he had an intent to harm. I think he tried to hit people,” Scaparrotti said at a news conference with reporters travelling with Panetta, reports the LA Times.
But we will never have confirmation of the interpreter’s motives from the man himself. He has since died of injuries caused by the flames that overtook the truck as it sped across the tarmac and then crashed at high-speed into a ditch.
However, this incident doesn’t discount the frustrated and pragmatic concerns raised by U.S. troops commenting on the repercussions of Sunday’s civilian massacre.
The Taliban has also announced today that is is suspending any notion of peace talks with the U.S. saying that the Americans have not fulfilled conditions for discussions to take place. In a statement, the Taliban announced they will wait “until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time.”
defence Secretary Panetta had told Marines gathered in a town hall meeting to hold onto the U.S. mission in Afghanistan no matter what: “Never lose sight of that mission, whatever the events, whatever the incident.”
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