Leaked Army Karbala Report Shows Iraqi Police Collaborated in Ambush on US Troops

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


USA Today has obtained the internal US Army investigation report on the ambush, kidnapping and killing of five US troops at a meeting with local officials in Karbala last January 20, and its findings are devastating.

A previously undisclosed Army investigation into an audacious January attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers concludes that Iraqi police working alongside American troops colluded with insurgents.

The assault on the night of Jan. 20 stunned U.S. officials with its planning and sophistication. …

The information is contained in an investigative file made available to USA TODAY and authenticated by the Army. …The investigation reveals several new details about the assault, including:

•Iraqi police suddenly vanished from the government compound before the shooting started.

•Attackers, evidently briefed on how U.S. forces would defend themselves, bottled up more than three dozen soldiers in a barracks and headquarters complex using a combination of smoke and fragment grenades and satchel charges to blow up Humvees.

•Gunmen knew exactly where to find and abduct U.S. officers.

•Iraqi vendors operating a PX and barbershop went home early.

•A back gate was left unlocked and unguarded.

It’s worth noting that Army officials disclosed none of this when Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a former White House aide, briefed the press this month. Bergner failed to mention that an internal Army investigation had found that the Iraqi police the US troops are supposed to be training and cooperating with played a direct role in the ambush.

Instead, Bergner blamed Iran. “The Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, helped plan and direct it with Iraqi militants, said Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a military spokesman,” USA Today reports.”The Quds Force, he said, supplied Shiite militias with weapons and up to $3 million a month in aid.”

What would be Gen. Bergner’s motivation for neglecting to mention the key findings of the military’s own internal investigation of the attack?

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate