Two Afghan citizens prevented a terrorist attack yesterday morning when a vehicle loaded with explosives attempted to crash through the front gate of Camp Phoenix.
"Without any regard for their personal safety, a local Afghan security officer and an interpreter immediately recognized that this was a terrorist attack," said 1st Lt. Cathrin Fraker. "Together, the two prevented the driver from detonating his explosives after they failed to explode during the crash. With the assistance of the US Security Forces, they dragged the terrorist from the vehicle where they were detained."
"If it wasn't for the quick actions of the local nationals working for the US Forces, several lives would have been lost," stated Col. David B Enyeart, the deputy Task Force commander.
That is the official press release, but there is more to the story....
The Oregon National Guard is currently stationed at Camp Phoenix. They have a strong bond with an Oregon talk radio host, Lars Larson. They started calling him with the news of the event - "It was Rambo," they told Lars. "Rambo saved us again." As the stories rolled in, it was unquestionable that our troops admired, respected and trusted this man.
Jamil Udin, nicknamed Rambo by the 10th Mountain Division, is an Afghan citizen who suffered under the Soviet invasion and the Taliban. His beloved wife was killed by the Taliban. He took his children to a refugee camp in Pakistan to escape the Taliban and save what was left of his family.
“While I was in Pakistan, I saw President Bush and his wife on TV,” Udin said. “They said: ‘We will help Afghanistan. We will rebuild Afghanistan.’ That’s why I like Americans, and why I like to work for them.”
When the US Forces pulled up to the gates of the former Russian-Afghan transport depot - now Camp Phoenix - Jamil Udin was there waiting for them, as it was the place he had worked before fleeing Afghanistan. He has been there ever since.
Each rotation of soldiers adopts him and takes care of him. He has prevented numerous attacks on the base. He scrutinizes every vehicle that enters and leaves and salutes each one. “They are always taking care of me,” he said. The attention, he added, “makes me work harder and harder for them.” For months he refused compensation, but now has been convinced to take a salary.
"Now he is probably the most beloved man on this camp. I don’t know the interpreter involved, but these two show the outstanding side of some of the people here. Once again Afghans, not NATO or the US, risked their lives and thwarted a bombing," says Cpt. Doug Traversa.
You can read more about his experiences with Rambo on his blog Afghanistan Without a Clue.