Kabul: An Afghan soldier shot a United States Army major general to death and wounded a German brigadier general and at least 14 other foreign and Afghan military service members on Tuesday at a military training academy on the outskirts of Kabul, officials of the American-led coalition said Tuesday.
The major general appeared to be the highest-ranking member of the American military to die in hostilities overseas since the Vietnam War, reports New York Times.
The coalition officials said a senior Afghan commander also was among the wounded. The officials declined to identify any of the victims by name. The identity of the gunman was not disclosed, either, but a Pentagon spokesman told reporters in Washington that he had been killed.
Tensions at the military academy ran high in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, which took place around noon, and foreign troops appeared to be on edge, fearful of another attack Afghan officials had earlier described the attacker as a man wearing an Afghan uniform, suggesting he may not have been a soldier.
The shooting is by far the highest profile “insider attack” of the Afghan conflict, in which scores of US-led NATO troops have been killed by Afghan soldiers turning their guns on their allies.
Also known as “green on blue” attacks, the killings have bred fierce mistrust among soldiers and forced joint patrols
to be overseen by armed guards.
The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack but Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the insurgents, said in an emailed statement that the gunman was an “Afghan hero soldier who turned his weapon against foreign invaders.”
Western officials said that most such attacks stem from personal grudges and cultural misunderstandings rather than insurgent plots.
“Insider attacks” declined rapidly last year as NATO combat troops closed many bases and reduced operations before their complete withdrawal by the end of this year. Screening of Afghan army recruits was also tightened.