“Our Bad” — Or So They Thought

Recently, The New York Daily News reported as only it can: “NATO’s command in Afghanistan fessed up to a bonehead blunder…” The story, “Our Bad! NATO Arms, Ammo Land in Taliban Territory,” seemed to be but a footnote about an errant delivery and a curious commentary on how the princes of print cover current ops.

Stories are not always as they seem, and this gem might not be about a “bonehead blunder” at all. The writer might have stumbled on what was, in fact, a covert operation (what isn’t nowadays?) and possibly one with the little-known Afghan commandos. The resulting story might have been spun by NATO officials to protect an operation. 

Conspiracy theory? Maybe, but we found this tabloid tidbit so interesting we mentioned it to a source who has knowledge on the subject. Our general questions about the incident were met with silence. [Cue more silence.] “Ahhhhh! We think we see the real story.” 

As reported in late March, a NATO-contracted chopper dropped ammo, rocket-propelled grenades, food and water onto a Taliban-controlled mountaintop. No details on the contract company, type of bird, or air crew were given. (CIA?) According to NATO officials, it was NATO that gave the pilots bad scoop, sending them to the wrong area. The Daily News also reported, after a crew makes a drop, it is supposed to hang around and see if “friendlies” are going to make the pick-up. Not this contract crew: they took off, and it is unclear why. Their bad, again? 

No bad. Queries on contracting aviation assets in Afghanistan turned up, well, more silence. The items that were dropped? Sounds like a resupply for a small unit of Afghan commandos (maybe other special-forces units) working in Taliban territory. Bad map coordinates? Possibly, but unlikely with small-unit resupply missions in Afghanistan. Maybe that helo left the drop-zone area because it did not want to draw attention to the covert boys on the ground. (Maybe we should start writing stereotyped fiction.) 

Maybe we’re naïve, but a “bonehead blunder” such as this one is unlikely. The Daily News article might be more a glimpse into underreported (or covert) operations in Afghanistan.

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