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British say no further action required on Camp Bastion attack

Oct. 19, 2013 - 11:58AM   |  
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Britain's Defense Ministry is coming under criticism for not thoroughly investigating a devastating attack on Camp Bastion in southwestern Afghanistan, The Independent newspaper reported.

The U.S. Marine Corps took the rare step earlier this month of asking two generals to retire in the wake of the surprise attack that killed two American Marines and completely destroyed six American warplanes.

A team of 15 Taliban insurgents used bolt cutters to cut the perimeter fence and sneak onto an airfield.

At the time of the attack last year the British were responsible for security at Camp Bastion, which was part of a larger coalition complex in Helmand province.

Under a complex memorandum of understanding, the British had a separate chain of command from the U.S. side of the base, called Camp Leatherneck. There was no single commander responsible for security over the entire compound.

The U.S. report pointed out that the arrangement violated a key tenet of warfare: unity of command.

The arrangement was changed after the September 2012 attack. Security for the entire complex is now under the command of an American officer.

"The U.K. was responsible for protecting Camp Bastion, yet in contrast to their U.S. colleagues, two of the most senior U.K. commanders at the base have since been promoted," The Independent reported.

The Independent said Britain's Defense Ministry has reviewed the lengthy U.S. report and said that no further action is needed.

"I am deeply concerned at their apparent unwillingness to address the U.S. document's allegations openly and transparently," Madeleine Moon MP, a member of the Defense Select Committee, told the newspaper.

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