Leon Panetta Afghanistan: Car in Flames on Runway as Panetta Lands in Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s plane landed on a British airway at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan as a car on the runway burst into flames. Panetta’s trip to Afghanistan was super-secret. Allegations of a suicide attack are not confirmed. The person driving the car lived and is receiving medical treatment. Source. Updates as available.

UPDATE: 6:10 pm CDT: News just in, heard on Fox News, the man speeding on the runway as Panetta’s flight landed crashed into a ditch. The driver got out with a gasoline can and a lighter and set himself on fire. He survived. At this time no evidence of other explosives in the car or a bomb on his body, and what he intended – maybe bet the gas can closer to Panetta –  not known.

The New York Times has published a reason for disarming the U.S. Marines today when Panetta was scheduled to talk:

Armed U.S. Marines were already in a tent today to hear Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speak, and were abruptly told to walk their weapons outside and leave them there before re-entering. This is not the usual drill. Generally Afghans are unarmed and U.S. Military are armed.

I wanted to have the Marines look just like their Afgan partners ~ Maj. Gen. Mark Gurganus

UPDATE: 12:40 pm CDT: This report says after the incident, US Marines gathered at Camp Leaterneck to hear Panetta speak were abruptly told to get up and place their weapons outside the tent and return unarmed.

The commander, Sgt. Maj. Brandon Hall, told reporters he was acting on orders from superiors.

“All I know is, I was told to get the weapons out,” he said. Asked why, he replied, “Somebody got itchy, that’s all I’ve got to say. Somebody got itchy; we just adjust.”

Normally, American forces in Afghanistan keep their weapons with them when the defense secretary visits and speaks to them. The Afghans in the tent were not armed to begin with, as is typical.


 An Afghan man breached security and was driving a stolen car on the runway. No explanation as to what caused the fire. Here’s the explanation:

“For reasons that are totally unknown to us at this time, our personnel discovered that he was ablaze,” Mr. Little said. “He ran, he jumped on to a truck, base personnel put the fire out and he was immediately treated for burn injuries.”