July 29th, 2010
03:16 PM ET

WikiLeaks documents: Turkish insurgents repeatedly target U.S. forces

WASHINGTON (CNN) — U.S. forces stationed at or in the vicinity of Forward Operating Base Bermel, located near the border with Pakistan, were subject to repeated attacks from Turkish militants in 2007. Detailed reports on these attacks emerged among the tens of thousands of documents on the war in Afghanistan published by WikiLeaks earlier this week.

NATO ally Turkey has sent peacekeeping forces to Afghanistan. The documents, though, describe attacks on NATO positions by Turkish insurgents. The Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. did not respond to CNN's request for comment for this story.

The attacks listed in these documents all failed, and in many cases the insurgents gave away their plans or position to the U.S. military because of insecure radio communications. CNN Senior Pentagon Producer Mike Mount was at FOB Bermel from September to October of 2006 and was present during several insurgent rocket attacks on the base. During one particular incident, Mount says a rocket landed on the base grounds. It hit a dirt Hesco barrier near a Howitzer gun, sending shrapnel near an observation post and wounding a soldier.

During a separate incident, Mount says a rocket hit an unoccupied space of the base, sending shrapnel throughout the base which hit the plywood, living quarters, and shower facilities where Mount and CNN's team were staying. There were no injuries during this incident, according to Mount because everyone had taken cover in a bunker. Military officials told him Turkish insurgents were responsible for the attacks.

"For a number of weeks, they had picked up intelligence that there were Turkish insurgents firing these rockets at the base," Mount explained. "They picked up on their communications that they were Turkish fighters and they were having trouble isolating them, finding them when they were firing the rockets, because they were putting the rockets on timers and hiding in ravines to give themselves plenty of time to escape before the rockets fired at the base."

The 2006 incidents that Mount experienced do not appear in any of the WikiLeaks documents reviewed by CNN. A few days before Mount and his CNN team left, the base commander told them that they had killed two Turkish insurgents believed to be responsible for firing the rockets at the base. But the documents published by WikiLeaks show that the rocket attacks continued in 2007.

The first documented attack took place in May of 2007. "Todays (sic) single rocket was the first involvement of Turkish fighters in directly attacking [coalition forces]," after spending about two weeks observing coalition forces and how they responded to ambushes, an unidentified analyst wrote. U.S. forces did not suffer any casualties or damages during this incident.

Less than a week later, Turkish fighters attempted a second attack on FOB Bermel, firing two rockets from a different position. An analyst speculated that the intent of the attack was to get a better sense of the range of fire for their weapons. "The Turkish fighters appeared to use this indirect fire incident to gather knowledge on range from a previously unused [Point of Origin]," the report says.

The Turkish fighters stepped up their efforts in July of that year, attempting to ambush two platoons returning to FOB Bermel from a patrol. There were no American casualties, but the commander assessed that "it was most likely initiated by Turkish fighters." He also said, "The ambush fire was accurate and the [exfiltration] by the enemy was disciplined."

They tried again in September, when four rockets were launched at a company of U.S. forces stationed at the Malekshay Combat Outpost near FOB Bermel. The document indicated that U.S. forces overheard communications throughout the day indicating that "Turkish fighters were preparing to fire rockets at the [Combat Outpost]." The four rockets missed their target, but the U.S. forces were able to pick up on insurgent communications to track the location of Turkish observers. The insurgents began fleeing toward the border to cross into Pakistan.

According to the record, the company notified Pakistani military officials that insurgents had fired rockets at them and were heading for the border. They also warned that they would be firing artilllery shells in that general area, and suggested that the Pakistanis take cover. A total of ten rounds were fired from FOB Bermel and the company. After repeated attempts to contact Pakistani military, the company received a message from them which only said "Please wait." Twenty minutes after the rounds were fired, the company picked up communications chatter indicating the rounds had hit their intended target. The gist of that chatter: "Nasrat, do you hear me? I hear somebody is injured. You don’t hear anything else but this voice. This means everybody is hurt. (W)hen we arrive we can tell you the story."

The name Nasrat appears several times in the documents. In one report dated October 2007, he is described as "a Taliban commander overseeing Turkish foreign fighters repeatedly involved in initiating attacks against Task Force Eagle forces in southern Bermel district." The same report indicates he has been under communications surveillance for some time. "TF Eagle has monitored Nasrat on numerous [signals intelligence] gists since July involving attacks on coalition forces."

In October of 2007, radio transmissions gave away the position of a group of at least 14 Turkish insurgents to U.S. forces. A Predator drone confirmed their location, and two A-10 fighter jets were deployed after the insurgents were "declared imminent threat," according to the document. The jets dropped a bomb on the fighters, and continued their assault with rockets, bombs, and chain guns. A patrol sent to the site an hour later found a blood trail, part of a head, six dead bodies and a wounded insurgent. The report also notes that based on the blood trails at the scene, an estimated 15 to 20 Turkish fighters were suspected to have been injured or killed.

A few days later, U.S. forces at FOB Bermel picked up Turkish chatter saying "Brother, we are leaving. It's got 15 minutes on it." After that time period elapsed, the base was attacked by three rockets, all of which missed their intended target. There were no U.S. casualties in this attack, and subsequent Turkish chatter was picked up indicating their acknowledgement that the rockets had missed.

But the insurgents would suffer their biggest loss a month later. U.S. forces picked up communications indicating there were plans to attack Malekshay Combat Outpost from two different positions. The local company commander devised a fire response to complement mortar and artillery rounds that would be fired from nearby U.S. bases against the insurgents. Once the firefight began, more than 40 insurgents were observed to "wildly flee the area after indirect and direct fire began." F-15, A-10, and AH-64 fighter jets were called in to the area to bomb and strafe the insurgents.

The report from the incident says that after the final smart bomb was dropped, U.S. forces picked up insurgent chatter saying, "We are lost. My friend was taking me to Afghanistan. Only two of us are left. I don't know where we could go. Now the other guy is lost. We are separated. I am disappointed we could not fight back." The post-action report indicated that 30 insurgents were killed and an additional five were wounded. An intelligence source cited in the document said that two of the dead were Turkish fighters.

The final reference to Turkish insurgents in the WikiLeaks documents is from November of 2009, when a security patrol came under fire. When the patrol went to the compound to investigate the source of the fire, they found a dead body and an undisclosed amount of Turkish money among the weapons and supplies that had been left behind by the insurgents.

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. psmail2

    In other news, "Several people shot at Connecticut business, officials say" -– Guess killings happen all over the world. So, why is America fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq when we cannot protect Americans?

    August 3, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. sanity

    Not sure what others do with kids, ragheads certainly use them for mass murders by systematically brainwashing them since tender age. a Tender jihadist. The off late do not even spare mental patient.

    August 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    I don't know about the People that you meet!!! But most of My Friend are either College Educated are have been in the Military!!! I find both very smart... The only People that I meet that aren't to intelligent were from the south!!! I'm sorry southerners... But I haven't been there since the 50ties... But judging by Gorge Bush Jr I would say they haven't changed any!!!

    August 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Texas isn't considered Southern in my opinion. It is different.

      August 2, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bailoutsos

    American agents gave info about Israeli spies to Lebanon, who in turn gave it to Hezbollah, who in turn have killed 2 or more Israeli spies. As The World Turns.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I don't really like to see anyone die!!! But the Tarriest do deserve to die for the People they have tried to are has killed...

      August 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Diaper Head

    We come in peace brother. Our backwards third world hellhole make us angry. Our women are broad shouldered with moustache. We wear dress and diaper on head. What more you expect? We are simpletons that participate in Afghani goat lovefest.

    August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Why don't you go play in your sand box and quit trying to play with us adults!!!

      August 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank


      Good one!

      August 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    The Jews only fought when they were attacked!!! Not like the rest that tried to take over the World...

    August 2, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jack

    The author is a complete fool. The attackers were "Turkmen" trigesmen, not "Turkish." Turkmen inhabit much of N. Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, as well as Uzbekistan. True they speak Turkish dialect and are kin to the Turks, but they are definitely not "Turkish." For what it's worth, most the Turkmen tribes are totally against the Taliban, as are most of the "minority" majority groups. The Taliban is a Pushtun creation that murdered and tortured all of the other groups.
    You would think a reported would have some basic knowledge of ethnography and geography ... but not at CNN. This is one of the most embarrasing things I've ever seen on a news site ... what a complete and utter idiot this news organization is. OMG... just look at the map and tell me how "Turkish" troops good to N. Afghanistan? Freaking fools.

    July 31, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakobi

      Turkish forces are working along side allies in Afghanistan. Turkey is being maligned for getting in to conflict with the holy cow of Nu cons dubbed as Israel.

      August 1, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Jack – the difference is well understood by the author. These were Turkish dissidents who left the Turkish Army to fight against US forces in Afghanistan. One was captured (and wounded) by our battalion or what is referred to here as Task Force Eagle, he put in his own IV (by himself) and it happened he was a trained artillery officer in the Turkish Army before getting out to do the job that nearly got him killed.

      June 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    If Turkey was our was on Our side they would never done what they did against Israel!!! They were suppose to have a treaty with them...

    July 31, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakobi

      Israel is holy cow for some but majority of the world considers it an out law. It is no measure to gauge a friend of USA but a desire.

      August 1, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    Well our NATO ally Turkey was (is) attacking us in Afghanistan – Just another thing Americans would rather be ignorant of!

    July 31, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Smith in Oregon

    Bush-Cheney should be brought before a war crimes tribunal to investigate if Bush-Cheney knew the Billions of free taxpayer dollars Bush-Cheney were giving to Pakistan were going directly to the Taliban fighters who used that money to murder as many American and NATO soldiers as they could. It appears Bush-Cheney had full knowledge of that thru America's CIA who has a close relationship with Pakistan's ISI for the past 30 years.

    July 31, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      I agree with you that they both should be brought up in court for lying to the Government and People to start the war!!! But that will never happen in My life time...

      July 31, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fasz Fejü

    I know what a sight is. It's what I line up on you for an accurate shot.

    July 31, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Befuddled

    My question is whether these Turkish militants are from Turkey and if they possibly received help from the Turkish forces. The post indicates that that question was asked of the Turkish embassy with no response.

    Unfortunately many comments for this story seem to be individuals insulting each other. Possibly a reflection of misunderstanding and lack of respect that contributes to the current situation. But hey, people can actually want to go to war and kill each other. It's been done since time immemorial.

    July 31, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    I really don't understand why Religion is put into every subject we discuss on here??? You have Your beliefs and we have Ours!!! So keep Your Religion and keep My religion out of the Subjects... We already know You People hate the Jews!!! So you don't have to keep reminding us...

    July 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |

    Most of the people who agree with him are Daniel-2 in a variety of guises everyone else sees the joke.

    July 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Sure if your a Racist you agree with Daniel2!!! If because I don't and you think I am joke you are completely a Idiot,,, Because I talk through experience!!! Do You???

      July 30, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JesusNeedsABreak

    Don't wanna be a martyr in this war
    Don't wanna hear the same excuses anymore
    That everything's a threat
    And it's only gonna get worse if we let it

    Don't wanna blame the rich for what they got
    Don't point a finger at the poor for what they have not
    Though the politician and the priest
    Live in the belly of the beast because we fed it

    Freedom is seldom found
    By beating someone to the ground
    Telling them how everything is gonna be now!

    "written by Amos Lee Great American Artist"

    July 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Ben

    I would assume that he was correct in his assessment as the article does not make sense. And, while he may be a "diaper head," take what you find in a diaper, add "head" and that pretty well describes you.

    July 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Ben

    Are we sure this means actual Turks from Turkey or could it mean Turkic peoples like Uzbecs, Tajiks and others who are native to Afghanistan and some of whom were part of old Taliban coalitions??? Does the press that just reported this know?

    July 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Pete Larson

    I posted some preliminary statistical analysis of the Wikileaks Afghan Conflict data on my personal blog. Please take a look at it for more figures and maps from the data that you might not find elsewhere.



    July 29, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Neo

    LMAO. I am schooled in a Christian Convent with morals. Unlike you we don't trash other people. UMAD?

    July 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      What are the People on here in Grammar School??? I haven't heard talk like this since then!!! What ever happen to discussing the subject???

      July 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Onesmallvoice

        Whatever happened to understanding the posts.

        July 31, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Neo

    WTH did you just say? Is that some brain fried English? Are you schooled in some paki religious shack?

    July 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jaybob

    lol, Trukey season.

    July 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |