Don Bolduc’s campaign for the Senate has contributed much to the way he led ‘horse soldiers’ in Afghanistan in the fight against terrorists in the immediate aftermath, for which he won a Purple Heart after a 2000-pound bomb hit his position in a ‘friendly fire’. ‘accident.
What his campaign does not say is that some survivors blame Bolduc’s decisions on a bombing raid that killed three special forces and at least 25 Afghan allies.
They say the Taliban were ready to surrender and that Bolduc’s decision to call for an airstrike may have even delayed the end of the fighting in December 2001.
“Amid all this, Bolduc sent headquarters to drop bombs on hills south of us, in the direction where the Kandahar surrender came from,” claimed one survivor speaking to DailyMail.com.
“It was clear to me that Bolduc wanted to be able to say that his headquarters were conducting air raids before the war was over.”
His story is supported by other former special forces officers, who portray Bolduc in 2001 as a stubborn figure who intends to put himself at the heart of the action.
Bolduc disputes that version of events. He says the attack was tactically necessary to oust the Taliban and Al Qaeda from their positions and says the blame lay with a tactical air traffic controller who sent the wrong coordinates to a B52 bomber.
“Unfortunately, in the fog of war, he made a mistake,” Bolduc told DailyMail.com in an interview.
Questions have been raised about the ‘friendly fire incident’ before – in a 2010 book and a 2017 documentary.
But they have come under scrutiny again after Bolduc, who retired from the military as a brigadier general, secured the Republican nomination for the New Hampshire Senate seat. As the race enters its final weeks, he has a chance to oust Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan in one of the most important contests for overall control of the Senate.
Don Bolduc secured the Republican nomination in the New Hampshire Senate race. He has spent much of his career in US special forces, including being one of the first soldiers to arrive in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks when US forces fought the Taliban.
He is seen here (front row, second from left) here in December 2001 with special forces accompanying future Afghan President Hamid Karzai (back row, fifth from left) as he returned from exile to enter anti-Taliban fighters into Kandahar lead
Bolduc took the picture moments after members of ODA-574 posed with Karzai for a photo on December 3, 2001. Two days later, three were killed when a 2000-pound US bomb fell on their site. A CIA officer threw himself at Karzai to protect him
Among the dead was Dan Petithory.
During his time in the US military, he commanded many of our country’s most famous units during the Global War on Terror.
“He led one of the first groups in Afghanistan on horseback.”
The story is laid out in Eric Blehm’s book “The Only Thing Worth Dying For,” which describes how Bolduc arrived in Afghanistan by helicopter in December 2001.
By this time, the Taliban had left the capital, Kabul, and had returned to their spiritual headquarters in Kandahar for what could be their final stand.
A small group of special forces and CIA officers approached the city with Hamid Karzai, the future president of Afghanistan, and fighters loyal to his cause.
Operational Detachment Alpha 574 was led by Captain Jason Amerine.
But the Pentagon had become concerned that Karzai was working with a captain and had deployed senior officers in the form of Bolduc and Lieutenant Colonel Fox.
Bolduc and Amerine clashed from the start, while Bolduc wondered why Amerine was waiting for more information before ordering an airstrike on vehicles that appeared to be in convoy.
“Citizens are always at risk in war,” he said in conversation, according to Blehm’s book.
‘You shouldn’t let that determine your operations. You still have to be aggressive.’
Bolduc was one of the first soldiers to arrive in Afghanistan in 2001
On the morning of December 5, Amerine told the makers of “Legion of Brothers” that his forces should expect a delegation of surrender from the Taliban. They were in a key position just north of Kandahar.
Meanwhile, Bolduc had identified Taliban positions and went to Fox — his superior — to call in air strikes, according to his account.
The first Amerine – who had been responsible for calling strikes until then – knew about it when a 500 lb reached a position south of the team.
“The hostilities are over, the Taliban are coming to surrender,” he said. ‘Why did battalion headquarters call for an air raid in the first place?
“To me it was pretty obviously a way of saying they attacked the enemy before the war ended.”
Amerine said he was furious.
“I was furious and tried to contain my anger,” he said. “There was no valid target to bomb there.”
Worse was to come. Unbeknownst to the troops on the ground, a target error — later attributed by an investigation to institutions in a laser pointer — had inadvertently passed U.S. forces coordinates to a B52 bomber overhead, rather than the location of alleged Taliban fighters. a mile away.
It dropped a 2000-pound guided bomb on their heads.
Three Americans died. At least 25 Afghan guerrillas were also killed.
A CIA agent famously pounced on Karzai to protect the man who had been virtually anointed as interim leader.
“During his time in the US military, he commanded many of our country’s most famous units during the Global War on Terror,” Bolduc’s campaign website said.
While the official investigation pointed to the target error, several survivors and other special forces officers familiar with the details pointed to Bolduc’s role in calling for strikes.
“We’re not calling it an airstrike unless it’s necessary,” Amerine said.
“We’re not calling for an airstrike if a surrender delegate is heading for you. Unless you have a good reason to call it an air raid.’
Bolduc defended his actions, challenging the claim that a Taliban surrender was imminent.
“Was it a bug in the battle controllers part, yes it was,” he said. ‘And that is very unfortunate. And so that’s number one.
‘Were the bombings tactically necessary? Yes they were.’
He said the unit had been engaged in fierce fighting for days. Their path to Kandahar was defended by well-grounded Taliban forces.
And a day earlier, a sergeant had to be evacuated after being shot.
Bolduc said every airstrike was signed by Karzai
“I was the one on the floor,” he said. “And I was the one who got his permission.
‘Every time from Tarin kowt [a town on the road to Kandahar] all the way down. We didn’t bomb any place unless he said it was okay. And that’s a fact.’
Bolduc said he was disappointed that people were still trying to blame him for an accident when he was officially responsible.
“I live every day with the memory of those three men who were killed and wounded. I pray for them and their families,” he said.
‘I fought my last war in 2013 as a leading brigadier general. I know warfare. I know how bad warfare can be and you know what? I’ve never had a friendly fire incident again.’