The U.S. military command in Afghanistan has acknowledged that an American general was wounded during a deadly insider attack in the southern city of Kandahar last week. Initially, the command described him only as an “American service member.”
On Thursday, Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley was in a meeting at the Kandahar governor’s compound with senior American and Afghan officials. Just before the meeting broke up, an Afghan guard suddenly turned his weapon on those present.
The guard shot Kandahar’s police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, serveral times, killing him. Then he sprayed the room with bullets. Smiley was hit twice in his limbs, said a Pentagon source, and is being treated at a military hospital in Afghanistan.
Cmdr. Grant Neeley, an American military spokesman in Kabul, confirmed to NPR that Smiley was shot but said there would be no other details at this time, adding, “We will provide updates when appropriate.”
News that Smiley was wounded was first reported by The Washington Post. The American command said it did not release the general’s name because of what it called privacy concerns. The general is in charge of training and advising the Afghan security forces in Kandahar.
The attack also killed Kandahar’s intelligence chief, Abdul Mohmin, and wounded the governor, Zalmay Wesa. Initial reports from Afghan officials said the governor was killed.
An American contractor and a coalition contractor also were wounded. The top American commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller, was unharmed and was leaving the meeting when the gunfire erupted.
Officials say the Afghan guard who opened fire was killed and had been hired only within the past two months to work for the governor. An investigation is continuing.
As officials provided more information on the Kandahar insider attack, there was still another attack on coalition forces in the western Afghan city of Herat. One soldier was killed and three others wounded. Officials said they were not American but would not say which country they were from.
There have now been four insider attacks this year, compared with one last year that killed three American soldiers. The attacks come as the Taliban has gained more ground in Afghanistan.
Still, both Afghan and American officials were impressed with a large turnout on Saturday for parliamentary elections, despite increased Taliban attacks. Voting in Kandahar was postponed until this weekend.