Insider attack at Kabul base kills US major general, wounds 16 troops including senior Coalition officers


An Afghan soldier opened fire today on a gathering of Coalition officers and soldiers at a military training academy near Kabul, killing a US major general and wounding 16 more personnel, including a US brigadier general, a German general, five British troops, and at least one Afghan officer.

An American major general was reported to have been killed in the shooting today. The general's name was not released, but Coalition officials said an Afghan commander was also shot along with other Coalition and Afghan troops. About "a dozen" of the wounded are said to be Americans. A report also indicated that five British troops were among the injured.

The casualty count may rise, as a number of injuries were said to be serious because the attacker fired at close range. A Reuters report cited an American official as saying the attacker had used a light machinegun. A number of victims were evacuated by Coalition helicopters following the attack.

The attack took place at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul City, the International Security Assistance Force noted in a press release. "This facility was incorrectly named Camp Qargha in a previous release," ISAF stated, while confirming one of its personnel was killed in the attack.

The Bundeswehr stated that the incident occurred just before 10 a.m. during a "key leader engagement" meeting at the training facility for Afghan troops, and that a German general had been injured but was "out of danger," Die Welt reported.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said the attack took place around 12 noon, and a local official told Pajhwok Afghan News that the clash, which was triggered by an argument, resulted in the killing of three Afghan troops as well as at least four Coalition troops. According to Ministry of Defence spokesman General Zahir Azimi, a terrorist in ANA uniform opened fire on Afghan and foreign forces and was killed by Afghan soldiers in return fire. Afghan sources told the BBC that the attacker had been recruited to the Afghan army three years ago.

Camp Qargha was the site of a previous green-on-blue, or insider attack, in late October 2013, in which two NATO troops were wounded and an Afghan soldier was killed. The incident occurred when a New Zealand trainer and his Australian guards were fired upon at a checkpoint as they left an Afghan base on their way back to a new British-Afghan military training facility in Qargha. The Coalition troops had tried to take a confiscated laptop from the attacker. The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack.

The Taliban have not claimed credit for today's attack, but did mention the incident in a statement on their website, Voice of Jihad.

"An Afghan soldiers [sic] turn his gun on the foreign trainers in police academy in Qargha area of Kabul city, killing four invaders and wounding some others," the Taliban statement says. "A high-ranking officer was among four foreign military trainers killing in the shooting."

Today's attack is the third reported green-on-blue attack in Afghanistan so far this year, and the sixth to have taken place in Kabul since January 2007, according to The Long War Journal's statistics.

The number of reported attacks on Coalition personnel in Afghanistan has dropped steeply since a high of 44 in 2012. Last year there were 13 such attacks. [For in-depth information, see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.] The decline in attacks is due to several factors, including the continuing drawdown of Coalition personnel, reduced partnering with Afghan forces, and the adoption of heightened security measures in interactions between Coalition and Afghan forces.

The Taliban have devoted significant efforts to stepping up attempts to kill NATO troops and foreigners by infiltrating the ranks of Afghan security forces. Mullah Omar said as much in a statement released on Aug. 16, 2012, when he claimed that the Taliban "cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year [2011]," and he urged government officials and security personnel to defect and join the Taliban as a matter of religious duty. He also noted that the Taliban have created the "Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration" department, "with branches ... now operational all over the country," to encourage defections. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]

Sources:

The New York Times, BBC, TOLONews, Agence France Presse, Reuters, Stars & Stripes, Die Welt, Pajhwok Afghan News



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READER COMMENTS: "Insider attack at Kabul base kills US major general, wounds 16 troops including senior Coalition officers"

Posted by James at August 5, 2014 3:50 PM ET:

If the 'light machine gun' statement proves to be true, the question is, how did this guy manage to get in there in the first place with such a weapon and how did he manage to get within close range.

Oh no, don't tell me, someone higher up was trying to just be 'politically correct'. We saw what that got US in FOB Chapman.

I've said it before on these Boards that the most anyone should be allowed to carry at such events is a fully loaded and operational 9mm revolver. In fact, it should be the minimum for our people (and probably the max for our Afghan counterparts).

It is amazing that our troops are battling an enemy that is using the tactics the Nazis used during the 'Battle of the Bulge' as their chosen strategy of first resort.

With this kind of a plan, the only effective counter-plan might be to fight fire with fire.

Posted by James at August 5, 2014 7:38 PM ET:

I stand to be corrected on the '9mm revolver' statement above. It should read as '9mm hand gun'.

Posted by kekc at August 5, 2014 9:40 PM ET:

"War zone" and they don't wear any protection equipment? Incredible incompetency!

Posted by Tariq at August 5, 2014 9:53 PM ET:

James,
The reference to "Nazis" is inappropriate and inflammatory. Since when are the native Afghans involved in a "Battle of the Bulge" outside of Afghanistan?
With foreign forces on their soil, Afghans have every right to defend their country. Some may be friends of convenience, but rest assured, the overwhelming majority of Afghans dislike foreigners dictating their lives.

Posted by John at August 5, 2014 10:26 PM ET:

Hello,
Can anyone help me find out the names (website) of the US troops in the ISAF that were wounded please? Concerned about a Very Good Friend of mine.
Thank You ,
John D Lee
jdl2realestate@gmail.com

Posted by gb at August 6, 2014 11:57 AM ET:

Where was this mans PSD?

Posted by john david at August 6, 2014 1:26 PM ET:

The question I have is why General Greene was in Afghanistan at all. A valued and brilliant technical mind with little if any experience in combat arms, the army should have kept him stateside where is contributions were most valuable and his risk the least.