An Islamic State attack on a U.S. base deep inside Syria in early April mirrored tactics long-used by Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan, in which enemy fighters disguise themselves as U.S.-backed fighters.
In the Apr. 8 attack, dozens of ISIS terrorists disguised themselves in uniforms stolen from U.S.-backed rebels and approached the al Tanf base in southern Syria carrying captured U.S. equipments. Because of the disguise they were able to get close enough to the entrance of the base to detonate a suicide car bomb, creating a breach that allowed them to flood onto the base and engage in a nearly three-hour long firefight.
The complex ISIS attack combining suicide assault teams with deception almost exactly mirrors hundreds of Taliban attacks on U.S. and Afghan Security Forces. Taliban terrorists frequently disguise themselves in Afghan uniforms to breach security perimeters before carrying out attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces, and these suicide assault teams are one of the most effective and deadly tactics it employs against Afghan forces.
U.S. special operators initially left the April fight to the local rebel forces they support, but reportedly ended up running back to the base to assist in the fight because of its severity. U.S. aircraft, meanwhile, pounded the terrorist offensive from above.
“It was a coordinated, complex attack,” a U.S. defense official told The Wall Street Journal. “Whether or not it was a one-off, we will have to see.”
The Taliban displayed its penchant for these kind of attacks March 15 on three separate targets inside the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan. “A large bomb was used to breach the perimeter,” The Long War Journal describes one of the attack sayings and “multiple martyrdom seekers” entered the school and engaged security forces.” Fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban terrorists able to enter the perimeter “lasted for several hours with gunmen barricaded inside the building,” Reuters reported.
The group also used the tactic in one of its most high profile attacks in Kabul when the Taliban targeted Afghanistan’s parliament in January. The attack involved a suicide bomber blowing himself up at the gate of the Parliament, and a second targeting medical responders.
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