News Column

Afghanistan 'Insider Attack' Kills U.S. General

August 5, 2014

VOA News

A man in an Afghan army uniform on Tuesday opened fire on international troops, killing at least one U.S. officer, in what appears to be the country's latest so-called "insider attack," according to a U.S. official and the German military.

In a statement, the International Security Assistance Force confirmed that an ISAF officer had been killed in an "incident" involving local Afghan and international forces at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul. The facility was incorrectly named Camp Qargha in a previous release.

The ISAF statement said the incident was under investigation, and did not provide any further details.

However, a U.S. official told VOA that a U.S. service member was killed and another 15 international soldiers, including several Americans, were wounded in the attack.

The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel reported that a two-star U.S. general was killed.

Der Spiegel said a German general was among the injured.

The U.S. official said that some of the injuries were serious as the gunman shot at fairly close range, according to the French news agency AFP.

Training camp

The U.S. official and Afghan officials confirmed that someone wearing an Afghan military uniform opened fire about 12 p.m. local time at the camp where international forces train Afghan National Army officers.

An Afghan Defense Ministry statement described the attacker as a "terrorist" and said he had been killed.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the shooting and offered his condolences to those Afghan and foreign military officers killed and wounded.

Officials in Kabul said three Afghan officers were wounded in the shooting at the British-run academy.

The total number of foreign casualties was not immediately clear.

'Insider attacks'

The attack comes as so-called "insider attacks" - incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners - largely dropped last year.

In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

Such attacks have eroded trust between the allies and complicated efforts to train Afghanistan's new 350,000 strong security force.

As of Aug. 1, the U.S. had 30,600 troops in Afghanistan. There were also 17,100 allied troops.

In a second, similar attack on Tuesday, several troops were wounded in eastern Paktia province when a policeman opened fire on international and Afghan forces, police chief Zalmay Oryakhil told Reuters.

Such attacks' are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration.

Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban's ultra-conservative Islamic regime.

In 2012, dozens of incidents forced international troops to take measures to reduce interaction with their Afghan partners and since then, the number of insider attacks has fallen sharply.

NATO airstrike

Adding to the tensions between the allies on Tuesday, a NATO airstrike hit a vehicle carrying civilians in western Herat province, local officials said, killing four members of one family including two children.

"We strongly condemn the killings by foreign troops and we have reported this to the presidential palace," deputy provincial governor, Aseeluddin Jameh, told Reuters.

The family was returning from a wedding in Shindand district.

Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from the Pentagon. Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


Original headline: Man Wearing Afghan Army Uniform Opens Fire on NATO Troops

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