Forward Operating Base Chapman
Forward Operating Base Chapman, also known as Camp Chapman, is a United States military base located at the site of a former Afghan Army installation that is also being used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Forward Operating Base Chapman is situated in Khost province, Afghanistan, on an airstrip 2 miles east of Khost. It is near Camp Salerno, a large military base used by U.S. special operations forces. The base is named for Sergeant First Class Nathan Chapman, the first U.S. soldier killed by enemy fire during the Afghanistan war, in 2002. Chapman was killed while fighting alongside the CIA.
The CIA's base in Khost was set up at the beginning of the U.S.-led offensive against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001, and began as an improvised center for operations. A military base at the beginning, it was later transformed into a CIA base, a U.S. official said. According to a U.S. military source, Forward Operating Base Chapman was also used as a base for the Khost Provincial Reconstruction Team, a military-led development group. According to an individual who was in the PRT and took part in the relocation; this team left in 2011 and moved to FOB Salerno. In recent years, the base, one of the most secretive and highly guarded locations in Afghanistan, evolved into a major counterterrorism hub of the CIA's paramilitary Special Activities Division, used for joint operation with CIA, military special operations forces and Afghan allies, and had a housing compound for U.S. intelligence officers.
On Wednesday, December 30, 2009, the Camp Chapman attack was executed by suicide bomber Humam Khalil al-Balawi who was a Jordanian double agent loyal to al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists. Seven people employed by or affiliated with the CIA, including the chief of the base, Jennifer Lynn Matthews as well as a Jordanian intelligence officer, died in the attack. It remains the second-deadliest incident ever for the CIA after the 1983 United States embassy bombing. Almost three years later, on Wednesday, December 26, 2012, a suicide bomber, possibly with ties to the Afghan Taliban (who claimed responsibility via a spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claiming those who served American forces at the base were the target) and/or the Haqqani network, killed three Afghans (their status was not specified) who were outside the perimeter of the base, which is near a military airport.
U.S. bases in Khost, in particular Camp Salerno, have frequently been targeted by insurgents. In most cases, however, suicide attackers do not succeed in getting past the main entrance of a base. According to U.S. officials, Forward Operating Base Chapman appears to have implemented less stringent security measures that other U.S. military bases, aiming at establishing trust with informants. Subjecting informants to mistrust and excessive suspicion would reduce the amount of information received from them.
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