The U.S. Army said late on Tuesday the slain general was Major General Harold Greene, a senior officer with the international military command ISAF. He was the most senior U.S. military official killed in action overseas since the war in Vietnam, military officials said.
“These soldiers were professionals, committed to the mission,” U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said in a statement, referring to the soldiers killed and wounded in the attack.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters that “many were seriously wounded,” and the gunman was killed in the attack, which took place on Tuesday at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, a training center in Kabul.
The attack raised fresh questions about the ability of NATO soldiers to train and advise Afghan security forces as western nations gradually withdraw. The U.S. and German generals were on a routine visit, the Pentagon said.
A U.S. official said the gunman fired on the foreign soldiers using a light machine gun. Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry described him as a “terrorist in army uniform.”
The German military said its general was one of 14 coalition troops wounded in Tuesday’s attack, adding that his life was not in danger. Seven Americans and five British troops were among the wounded, an Afghan official said.
Past insider attacks have eroded trust while straining foreign efforts to train Afghanistan’s 350,000-strong security force and prepare them to fight the Taliban once most U.S. and NATO forces depart.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with General Joe Dunford, who commands U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan, about the incident, Kirby said. He said the shooting was being investigated jointly by Afghan authorities and the international military coalition that is winding down its long mission in Afghanistan.
The Afghan president was quick to condemn the attack, saying the delegation had been visiting the facility to help build the country’s security forces.
The Taliban says insider attacks reflect their ability to infiltrate the enemy. International military coalition officials say the incidents often arise over misunderstandings or altercations between troops.
U.S. military officials said it was too soon to say whether the high-ranking officers had been specifically targeted by the shooter.
“We remain committed to our mission in Afghanistan and will continue to work with our Afghan partners to ensure the safety and security of all coalition soldiers and civilians,” Odierno said.- Reuters