The AP has documented how U.S. Army Capts. Joshua Lawrence and Drew Russell lost their lives in an Afghan insider attack back in October of 2011. They tell the story of what was a relaxed atmosphere in a US military compound in Afghanistan. Soldiers were told to treat the Afghan security personnel as though they were at a nearby recreation center, so there were no roster checks or questioning of Afghans that entered the compound. There were only supposed to be 10 Afghan security personnel assigned in the compound, but because of the relaxed atmosphere “unknown numbers freely entered and exited the compound unchecked.”
Below is just a summary of the attack, but the article goes into much more detail. I think all of you should read the entire account of what happened, especially those of you who have been or are currently in the military. Given your experience, I’d appreciate your thoughts on what happened.
ASSOCIATED PRESS – It was a sneak attack, but not by the enemy they feared.
U.S. Army Capts. Joshua Lawrence and Drew Russell were inside a small command post on an Afghan army base, wrapping up a long day of coordinating the safe arrival of nearly 100 Afghan religious and tribal leaders for a peace conference at a nearby palace.
Darkness had fallen.
Some of their fellow soldiers had retired for the evening. Two stood guard.
All seemed well.
But as several soldiers sprawled on nearby cots, playing cards, the calm collapsed catastrophically at 9:27 p.m.
An exploding grenade shattered the stillness, followed in seconds by bursts of gunfire. Before any of the Americans could raise a hand to defend themselves, Lawrence was dead from a bullet to the head, and Russell was dying, shot three times in the back.
They were not killed by the Taliban, as the U.S.-led military coalition indicated the day after the Oct. 8, 2011, assault. Lawrence, 29, of Nashville, Tenn., and Russell, 25, of Scotts, Mich., were killed in what U.S. investigators later called a “calculated and coordinated” attack by Afghan soldiers entrusted to work alongside their U.S. partners.
This is the first published account of the attack and is based on internal Army records and interviews in the U.S. and Afghanistan.
For Russell’s family, the anguish is still fresh. His father, Jim, said the loss was even harder to accept after learning from the Army’s investigation report early this year that it was a supposed ally, not the Taliban, who killed his son.
“It wasn’t like a battle, you know. He pretty much got ambushed,” he said, pausing at length to settle his emotions. “That makes it difficult.”