If only Col. Klink was running the show at the Bagram detention facility.
Four suspected Arab terrorists broke out of a U.S. military detention facility in Afghanistan on Monday, fleeing through barbed wire stockades in the first escape from the compound since the American military took over the former Soviet airbase.
U.S. and Afghan forces launched a manhunt for the suspects, identified as Arabs from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya. U.S. soldiers set up roadblocks and helicopters clattered low over villages near the heavily guarded base north of the capital, Kabul.
Bagram is in a wide, dusty plain at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains, and much of the area around the base remains mined from Afghanistan’s civil war and Soviet occupation. The base itself is surrounded by a series of barbed wire fences and is intensely guarded by U.S. troops. The main entrance is a series of checkpoints and all visitors are checked several times by U.S. military guards.
The escapes were another setback for the U.S. military as it struggles with insurgent fighting that has left more than 700 people dead in three months and threatened to sabotage three years of progress toward peace. Over the weekend, 22 Afghan soldiers were killed, including 10 who were beheaded.
It should be noted that a very large portion of those 700 deaths were terrorists and Taliban holdouts taken out by U.S. and Afghan forces, something not made clear in the story.
The four terrorist suspects who escaped Monday from the U.S. military detention facility at Bagram were identified as Abdullah from Syria, Mohammed al-Qatari from Saudi Arabia, Mahmood Ahmad from Kuwait and Abulbakar Mohammed Hassan from Libya, according to local police chief Abdulrahman Mawalana.
“They are considered dangerous and are suspected terrorists,” U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Cindy Moore told The Associated Press.
Local government chief Kaber Ahmad said, “coalition forces, police and Afghan troops have surrounded several villages near the base,” and have distributed photos of the four, who have short hair and long beards.
In the pictures, the men are wearing orange prison outfits and one man is grinning. Descriptions under the photos describe two of them as of Middle Eastern descent and the other as Arab. There is no description of the fourth.
Moore declined to identify the four escapees or elaborate on why they were being held. Another military spokesman, Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara, described them only as “enemy combatants.”
He said it was the first time anyone has broken out of Bagram’s detention facility, where most of about 500 detainees in Afghanistan are held.
I’m hoping to be able to follow up on this story, as it could prove interesting. Terrain does not seem to favor the escapees, and they are just as likely to find friend and foe among the populace unless they have prior knowledge of safehouses. I would not at all be surprised to hear some of these four being found clad in women’s garb, a ruse not unprecedented among the Islamist terrorists.
I would also like details on the escape itself, though I understand that it may be extremely unwise to publish any weaknesses in the security of the detention facility. I do know that any such expoitable weakness better be addressed and in a hurry.