According to Fox News, earlier today, an as-yet unidentified man acquired an Afghan army uniform and launched an attack on the Marshal Fahim National Defense University at Camp Qargha, an officers academy for Afghan troops located near Kabul, Afghanistan. A two star US Major General was reportedly shot and killed at close range, and fifteen other NATO International Security Assistance Force soldiers were wounded.
ABC News spoke with a US official who estimated that around half of the wounded NATO troops were Americans. Fox News cited another comment by a US official, reported on by the Associated Press, that put the number of Americans wounded at around a dozen. Additionally, Afghan and German troops, including a German Brigadier General, were among those injured. The number of fatalities could rise, as many of the wounded were hit at very close range.
Both US and Afghan officials have indicated that the gunman, who was not believed to be an Afghan soldier, disguised himself in an Afghan army uniform as a way to sneak onto the base. After launching his assault, the attacker was shot and killed. The US Major General who was killed in the attack is the highest ranking American officer to be killed in action since the Vietnam War.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai responded by condeming the attack on Camp Qargha, calling it “cowardly” and “an act by the enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions.” Karzai also said, “The soldiers were visiting the military academy to help with the buildup of Afghan security forces.”
The attack follows a controversial Monday night battle when a NATO helicopter launched a counterattack in an area from which a missile was reportedly fired, allegedly killing four civilians. 200 Afghans gathered today in Herat, carrying bodies of the fallen, to protest civilian casualties, which have risen in Afghanistan by 17% this year according to a July report by the United Nations. Around the same time that the attack was taking place at Camp Qargha, an Afghan police guard attacked NATO troops and was killed near the governor’s office in eastern Pakia province. It is not yet known whether the two attacks were connected in any way.
Despite the two incidents today, insider attacks by Afghan forces on US troops have dropped significantly this year as the US prepares to withdraw from the conflict. Attacks against civilian foreign aid workers have increased, along with Afghan civilian casualties and attacks on Afghan security forces.
In a statement cited by ABC News, the ISAF Joint Command said of today’s attack on Camp Qargha, “We are in the process of assessing the situation. More information will be released as we sort out the facts.”