NATO was forced onto the defensive Monday over a humiliating attack on one of its most heavily guarded bases in Afghanistan that destroyed six US fighter jets in unprecedented damage in the 10-year war.
At a weekly press conference given by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at its closely guarded headquarters, chief spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz was pressed on Friday night's assault.
"Yes, we assess that this attack was well-organised, well-equipped and destroyed six Harrier jets, they damaged two additional Harrier jets and they destroyed buildings, they killed two US Marines, but we must not forget out of those 15 attackers, we killed 14 and captured one," Katz told AFP.
NATO insists that the Taliban insurgency, now in its 11th year, is on the back foot with Afghan forces taking the lead in two-thirds of the country or over 75 percent of the population.
"Since the insurgency is clearly losing the fight and the security situation is becoming better everyday here in Afghanistan, they look for attacks that attract the media," Katz told reporters.
But he conceded that ISAF would learn its lessons from the attack on Camp Bastion in the southern province of Helmand and adopt force protection measures accordingly, but declined to go into detail.
ISAF says it is still investigating how Taliban commandos, armed with suicide vests, guns and rockets, and working in three groups, breached the perimeter wall of the base, deliberately built in the middle of the desert to have a vantage point.
The cost of the damage, which also saw three refuelling stations destroyed and six hangars damaged, runs to tens of millions of dollars.
The attack was all the more symbolic, at least for the British contingent of NATO that runs the base, as Prince Harry is deployed there, and the Taliban have vowed to kill him.