Afghanistan - Camp Bastion Attack - Defence Committee Contents

3  Conclusion

47. The attack on Camp Bastion on 14-15 September 2012 by a group of heavily armed Taliban insurgents was a carefully planned and orchestrated assault which exploited serious weaknesses in the base's perimeter security.

48. The MoD were wrong to refuse to share the report on the attack prepared by Lieutenant General Bradshaw, in his capacity as Deputy Commander ISAF. As this was the highest level UK report into the attack, its status as an ISAF document should not have prevented its release to us. The MoD has been obstructive and unhelpful to us as we tried to establish the facts surrounding the attack.

49. We are concerned that the perimeter security and force protection measures in place at the time of the attack were inadequate. We were told that the focus of ISAF commanders had been on security incidents elsewhere in Helmand Province and on threats from insider attack. Insufficient attention was given to the fundamental requirement of defending Camp Bastion from external assault. We believe that this was complacent. Given that the attack took place in the British sector of the camp, British commanders must bear a degree of responsibility for these systemic failures and associated reputational damage.

50. We note the acknowledgement by the MoD that errors were made which, collectively, created the vulnerabilities which were so devastatingly exploited by the enemy. From the evidence we have received, we are satisfied that as far as possible, these vulnerabilities have now been addressed.

51. We recommend that the MoD capture the lessons identified from this extraordinary attack as part of its wider efforts to learn lessons from Afghanistan for future operations. It should explain how it intends to do so in its response to our report.

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Prepared 16 April 2014