On Wednesday, an Afghan soldier opened fire on a group of American soldiers, killing one and wounding at least two. The U.S. Soldiers were attacked after a meeting between Afghan provincial leaders and a U.S. Embassy official that occurred at the compound of the provincial governor of Jalalabad. A U.S. embassy official said the Afghan soldier was killed immediately after the attack occurred, according to San Jose Mercury News. All embassy personnel were accounted for and safely returned to the embassy compound.
In the Washington Times, Colonel Steve Warren stated that the incident is currently under investigation. As reported by CBS News, American forces immediately returned fire, and in addition to the Afghan soldier who was killed, two others were reportedly wounded. Although the identities of the dead American soldier, as well as the wounded soldiers is unknown pending family notification, the shooter was identified as Abdul Azim, from Laghman province.
Afghan General Fazel Ahmad Sherzad, the police chief for eastern Nangarhar province where the shooting took place, told the Associated Press the following. Sherzad also identified the shooter.
“Right after the U.S. official had left, suddenly an Afghan army soldier opened fire on the U.S. soldiers who were present in the compound.”
Although the reason for the attack wasn’t immediately known, this is not the first time that NATO coalition forces were fired upon and military service members died. Afghan troops attacking U.S. forces has been common as U.S. forces transitioned power to the Afghan security forces. In past attacks, Taliban forces had been known to wear Afghani uniforms in order to stage the attacks, and the number of insider attacks have been underreported, says Fox News.
The largest surge in attacks occurred in 2012 when U.S. soldiers were attacked by Taliban insurgents, and at least 60 coalition troops were killed, most of them American. According to U.S. General John Campbell, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces, in an appearance before the Armed Forces Services Committee, stated that forces were implementing strategies to reduce the number of attacks.
“These measures have reduced, but not eliminated, the threat. We will remain vigilant to prevent future insider attacks.”
In 2014, there were four reported insider attacks that occurred. The worst of these attacks happened in August when an Afghan soldier opened fire and killed Army Major General Harold J. Greene. Greene was the highest ranking U.S. military service member to have been killed in action since the Vietnam War in 1970. An additional 18 personnel were wounded in that attack.
Military personnel have been cautioned to exercise extra care since the names and home addresses of 100 military personnel were released by ISIS. The Associated Press also reported that the U.S. military was not reporting all of the U.S. soldiers attacked because insider attacks were not reported when soldiers were missed or wounded, only when soldiers were killed.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]