The New York Times November 25, 2012
KABUL, Afghanistan — For the replacement Afghan security guards, their new posting — an established traffic checkpoint in a heavily guarded Western enclave in Kabul — would seem to be a decent one, other than the fact that three of their predecessors had just been killed by a Taliban suicide bomber.
The site itself told the story: the blast crater from the attack, on Wednesday, had been covered by two rows of green sandbags stacked 10 feet high, and ball bearings from the bomber’s vest pockmarked the neighboring walls. An excavator shoved dirt loosened from the blast into tidy mounds along the edges of the street, which sits a few blocks from the American Embassy in the city’s Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood.
The new arrivals, private guards who work for a foreign security contractor, forlornly bear the assignment. Among the dead were friends and co-workers, including a 36-year-old guard named Shamsuddin, a father of two, and Mohammed Homayoun, 28.
The replacements are jittery, clutching their assault rifles as a supervisor stands nearby, scanning the street.
“They’re deeply hurt because they lost their colleagues,” said the supervisor, who would not give his name. “They were like members of the same family.”
The guards may well have the most thankless job in Afghanistan, serving as the first line of defense against bombings and bullets meant for Westerners and high-profile Afghan government officials. In countless cases, such private security guards are the ones killed by thwarted attacks. On Wednesday, the bomber detonated his vest after the guards demanded his identification, police officials said.
Private security companies have had a troubled and controversial history in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai has called for them to be banned, concerned that the armed companies, about 50 in all employing about 40,000 guards across the country, were becoming de facto militias. The president eventually made exceptions for embassies and international organizations, but required the firms to be licensed. Mr. Karzai remains committed to handing over security to Afghan government forces.
Herald Scotland November 1, 2011
THE family of a Scots contractor who was among 13 people who died when a suicide bomber rammed a military convoy in Afghanistan said yesterday they were “heartbroken” after his killing.
Father of one David Quinn, of Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, died in the attack on Saturday along with fellow Briton Stephen Brown, 52.
It was reported Mr Quinn was 34, an electrician, and that he and his wife Jane had a daughter, Sophie.
Friends and family who gathered at Mr Quinn’s home yesterday said they were too upset to talk further of the tragedy.
Five coalition troops and eight civilian contractors were killed in the Kabul attack on Saturday
WREG Memphis October 31, 2011
Memphis — Family members are struggling to accept the news that their loved one died in a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan last week.
Matthew Lemmon, a civillian contractor was onboard a NATO armored bus with military personnel and other contractors. Lemmon was working on air conditionning units in Kabul.
Authorities say a bomber drove a car loaded with explosives into the bus.
Sandy Lemmon, says her only comfort is that her son died quickly, and that he’s with God. She wants her grandchildren, and others to know how giving her son was, and how devoted he was to his church.
Lemmon’s body was brought back to the US, funeral arrangements are not yet complete
13 Americans believed killed in Kabul bombing UPDATED October 31, 2011
From the comments
Saturday we suffered a tragic loss of seven of our own teammates during an attack in Kabul. Each of those we lost was a friend and valued part of our team. We lived and worked together. We forged bonds of camaraderie that are only found at times like this.
We each deal with our grief in different ways; some will find comfort in memorial services like the one we held at Dubbs or the ramp ceremony at Bagram, others will find that talking to friends, a Chaplain, or counselor helps. We have Site Managers and Employee Assistance Program teams on site to help us through this difficult time and find ways to cope.
Yesterday we notified the families of those we lost and we have assistance officers with them to help each of the families get through the difficult times ahead. I have asked our leaders to stay engaged with our colleagues that need assistance here and answer the questions that we can. I want to be sure you all have this information, as I know that rumors and internet blogs have not always been the best source for information.
Should you have any questions or need assistance, please talk to your immediate supervisor. He or she can provide the first step to find direction or help and ensure the proper steps are taken. Keep in mind that we have professional counselors on our EAP team available to assist you.
Although many of us know them personally, out of respect for their families we are not releasing any names of those lost in the attack. Please join me as our thoughts and prayers are with our teammates and their families during this difficult time.
George Rabb, Country Manager, LOGCAP
Fluor Government Group
USA Today October 29, 2011 11am
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a van into an armored NATO bus Saturday in Kabul, killing 13 American troops and four Afghans, U.S. and Afghan officials said, in the deadliest attack on coalition forces in more than two months
The explosion, which occurred as the convoy was passing the American University, sparked a fireball and littered the street with shrapnel. Heavy black smoke poured from burning wreckage at the site.
The armored personnel carrier, known as a Rhino, was sandwiched between of a convoy of mine-resistant military vehicles traveling on a four-lane highway frequently used by NATO forces in a southwestern section of the city.
NATO said 13 service members were killed, but a U.S. official confirmed they were all Americans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said three Afghan civilians and one policeman also died in the attack. Eight other Afghans, including two children and four other civilians, were wounded, said Kabir Amiri, head of Kabul hospitals.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack, as well as for another suicide bombing outside a government intelligence office in the northwest province of Kunar.
The attack occurred near the entrance of the American University and the nearby landmark Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of former Afghan kings
On Monday, Taliban suicide bombers killed at least two people — one of them an American contractor — in an attack on a police training center in southern Kandahar city, the U.S. Embassy said.
“He always told us that if something happened, he would have no regrets. He was where he wanted to be,” Messner said. “He said the people he served with were the finest he ever met.”
Roberson was born in Manchester, just south of Akron, and lived there until his family moved to Connecticut for work, Messner said. Roberson returned to Ohio as a teen and graduated from a Cincinnati-area high school before graduating with a degree in criminology from Florida State University.
Messner speculated that so much travel in his youth may have led to her brother’s globetrotting later on.
Although Roberson he spent much the 1990s anchored at the Atlanta Police Department — where he rose to the rank of detective, working undercover in the narcotics unit — he began the next decade abroad, Messner said. Roberson first worked as a contractor with the United Nations’ security forces in Kosovo and went on to protect high-risk officials in Iraq.
He only recently joined the CIA, Messner said.
Roberson last visited Ohio at Thanksgiving when his mom and Messner threw a baby shower for he and wife, Molly. The couple’s only child, a girl named Piper, in due in February.