US general killed, 14 injured in Afghan attack
FOR the first time since the Vietnam War, a United States Army general was killed in an overseas conflict on Tuesday, when an Afghan soldier opened fire on senior American officers at a military training academy.
The slain officer, Major-General Harold Greene, was the highest-ranking member of the Nato-led coalition to be killed in the Afghanistan war.
The general was among a group of senior US and Afghan officers making a routine visit to Afghanistan's premier military academy on the outskirts of Kabul when an Afghan soldier sprayed the officers with bullets from the window of a nearby building, hitting at least 15 before he was killed.
The German military said its general was one of 14 coalition soldiers wounded in Tuesday's attack, adding that his life was not in danger. Seven Americans and five British soldiers were among the wounded.
Afghan forces responded quickly, gunning down the assailant, and the shooting was over nearly as quickly as it began, Afghan and coalition officials said.
Maj-Gen Greene, 55, was one of the army's gadget gurus, an engineer by training whose mission did not involve guns and grenades. Instead, his goal was to integrate smartphones, iPads and even virtual worlds into a military culture in which technology usually involved hardware rather than software.
Though US officials said Maj-Gen Greene was not believed to have been specifically targeted, his violent death at the hands of an Afghan soldier, not an insurgent, was a reminder of the dangers faced by even the highest-ranking - and best protected - officers in Afghanistan.
US officials said they had no reason to suspect the gunman at the military academy was anyone but an ordinary Afghan soldier whose motivations remained a mystery.
Until Tuesday, no officer in the US military of major-general rank or higher had been reported killed by hostile action abroad since the Vietnam War.