Long-time readers will remember the rather tense morning I had back in October 2009. For the newcomers, that particular date was the morning where I was awakened by the sound of gunfire.
I'm somewhat accostomed to being awakened at odd and inappropriate hours by various external stimuli, everything from earthquakes to carbombs to gunfire to the guards at the ECP accidentally triggering the "panic button."*
*Which is actually pretty funny, in a tension-busting, early-morning kind of way. A bunch of guys standing around in their shorts, holding assault rifles, one third looking like they just shit themselves, one third looking like they are desperately hoping that the bad guys are actually coming through the gate and the final third (mostly the South Africans) looking like they've been through this a million times before (which they have). Odd crew that I live with.
Back in October of 2009 however I wasn't yet in my currently luxuorious surroundings. Instead, I was living by myself in a three-story shithouse over in Shar-e-Naw with only an AK-47 and a feral cat for company.* And then this happened.
*He later died. It was sad.
Needless to say, not the way to start the day. Being the type of person to strongly object to being awakened at any hour, especially early in the pre-dawn darkness, I did what seemed logical at the time- grab the AK-47 and go out on the balcony to see what's going on.*
* The cat, to his credit, was nowhere to be found.
This, as it turned out, was perhaps not the wisest course of action. I won't go into the details again (see here and here), but suffice it to say that six people died in the guesthouse about forty yards from my door. One of those people was an American by the name of Louis Maxwell, a security guard for the United Nations.
Maxwell, with the support of another UN security guard, Laurance Mefful, in an effort to protect those under his charge, had the reflexes and the foresight to get himself into position on the balcony of the guesthouse and engage the bad guys coming through the gate. I can't say if he managed to take any of them down, but the fact that the gunfight went on for about five minutes before the first ANP arrived is a testament to his ability. At the very least, Maxwell managed to keep the bad guys out of the main building until most of his compatriots had escaped out the back. Although he was apparently wounded, he held his position until the attackers were dead*, thereby saving probably more than a dozen lives.
*Killed either by Maxwell himself or by the recently-arrived units of the ANCOP, a sort of SWAT team for the ANP.
Louis Maxwell committed himself effectively and honorably and survived the Taliban attack. It was only after he came down from the roof, and after the ANP had secured the compound, that he was killed. According to video obtained by the UN, he was shot at point-blank range by Afghan police in the courtyard of the guesthouse. The reason? They wanted his gun.*
*Based on the file photo of Maxwell, the weapon appears to be a Heckler & Koch G36K, which is a top-end assault rifle. Pretty rare here, but often the preferred choice of a professional shooter.
I'm sure the Karzai administration will claim that it was a case of mistaken identity or friendly fire, but take a look at this picture of Maxwell. Does he look like Taliban to you? Does he even look Afghan? At a hundred meters anyone could tell that he wasn't a bad guy.
No, it was simple greed that triggered Louis Maxwell's murder. A scumbag Afghan cop, hyped up on violence and blood and sure of his own immunity, saw his chance to steal a weapon worth a few thousand dollars. So he executed a wounded man, and then picked up the weapon and walked calmly away. None of the hundreds of Afghan police or soldiers in the vicinity made any move to stop him.
This country makes me sick sometimes.
H/T and photo credit to Feral Jundi.