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A Taliban militant shot a US general in Afghanistan insider attack

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Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint ahead of parliamentary elections, in Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan
National Army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint ahead of
parliamentary elections, in Kabul,
Afghanistan.


Rahmat
Gul/AP



  • Among the wounded in a deadly insider attack in Kandahar
    province, Afghanistan that killed a couple of senior Afghan
    officials and injured a handful of others was an American
    general.
  • The insider attack, which could have cost the top US
    commander in Afghanistan his life, injured Army Brig.
    Gen. Jeffrey Smiley.
  • Resolute Support and the Department of Defense have tried to
    downplay the tragic incident, at first characterizing the wounded
    general as an injured “service member” and insisting that the
    assault was an Afghan-on-Afghan attack in which American military
    personnel were simply caught in the cross-fire.
  • The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack,
    said Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, head of NATO’s resolute support
    mission and US Forces-Afghanistan, was clearly one of the
    intended targets.

A Taliban insurgent masquerading as a bodyguard managed to wound
a US Army general in a high-profile insider attack this week that
killed senior Afghan officials, injured two Americans, and nearly
cost the top US commander in Afghanistan his life, the Washington Post reported
Sunday
.

During a high-level meeting at the governor’s compound in
Kandahar province, one of the governor’s bodyguards
turned his weapon on those in attendance
, which included
local police chief Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, the governor, and
the local head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS)
intelligence service, as well as American military personnel —
most notably the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support mission and
US Forces-Afghanistan Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller.

The attacker was killed in the resulting firefight, which was
“over in seconds,” according to a Resolute Support spokesman, but
not before the assailant inflicted casualties on those caught in
the open.

Raziq, a powerful figure and a fierce enemy of the Taliban who
had survived several assassination attempts, was killed in the
attack, along with the local intelligence chief Abdul Momin.
The governor, Zalmai Wessa, was wounded, and so were two
Americans and a coalition contractor.

Resolute Support and the Department of Defense described the two
US wounded as a “service member and a civilian.”


jeffrey smiley
Brigadier
General Jeffrey D. Smiley, Commander of Train, Advise, Assist and
Command – South (C-TAACS) Combined Task Force 40th,
USCENTCOM.


DOD


That “service member” was Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley,
who sustained at least one gunshot wound,
according to The Post
, citing four people with knowledge of
the deadly attack. The Pentagon confirmed that report
later on Sunday.

The Pentagon has sought to downplay the incident, characterizing
it as an Afghan-on-Afghan attack where US military personnel were
caught in the crossfire. The Taliban countered this narrative,
stating that Miller was among the intended targets.

That the Taliban was able to get close enough to take shots at
senior US leadership indicates that a victory in the ongoing
fight may be farther off than the Pentagon suggests.

The Department of Defense continues to express optimism even as
the war in Afghanistan enters its 18th year and Americans who
weren’t alive when 9/11 occurred are now old enough to enlist.
There have been
eight US military deaths in Afghanistan this year
,
significantly less than the nearly 500 killed in 2010, but

Afghan casualties remain high
.

“We remain absolutely committed to an Afghan-led Afghan
reconciliation,” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis
said
Friday. “Right now, we’re going toward the election and
we will continue to defend the Afghan people.” Mattis says he
continues to have confidence in the Afghan security forces.

The elections were held Saturday after a brief delay following
the attack. “With casting our ballots without fear, we honor the
sacrifices of the fallen,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
tweeted on election day.

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