An attacker wearing what Afghan officials deemed an “Afghan National Army uniform” shot dead a United States Army major general in a training camp in the capital, Kabul. The American-led military coalition there has said that multiple others have also been shot in the “incident.” The general is the highest-ranking American soldier killed in Afghanistan to date.
The New York Times reports that the two-star major general– whose authorities have yet to name– was shot “at close range” at a training academy, and other American and coalition forces appear to have been targeted, as well. The military did not specify how many soldiers were injured in the incident, but noted that “few people were wounded.” Given his presence at the base and his uniform, it is believed that the attacker was, indeed, an Afghan soldier and not a terrorist disguised in uniform, though no confirmation has yet to surface.
The gunman, ABC News adds, also turned against Afghan soldiers, there training with coalition forces. Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed that Afghan soldiers were injured, explaining: “The soldiers were visiting the military academy to help with the buildup of Afghan security forces” and calling the gunman one of many “enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions.”
ABC News also reports that a Pentagon source confirmed to them that fifteen International Security Assistance Force personnel were injured in the attack.
According to USA Today, “green-on-blue” attacks in which Afghan soldiers attacked coalition forces had increased significantly since 2007, and were deemed the greatest strategic threat for American and coalition forces in the area by Marine Gen. John Allen in 2012 during his tenure as the head of the mission in Afghanistan. While the threat of insider attacks appears to have reduced since it peaked in 2012, coalition officials note that they continue to require additional screening of military recruits to prevent would-be terrorists from being granted easy
Coalition and Afghan officials also enhanced screening of police and army recruits, requiring, for instance, biometric screening and letters vouching for their loyalty by village and tribal elders. The threat has subsided in recent years, coinciding with the withdrawal of U.S. troops.