Army Major General’s murder in Afghanistan raises questions about security and ROE

Tuesday was a sad day for the U.S. Army as it lost a Major General, Harold J. Greene, gunned down by an Afghan soldier in Kabul Afghanistan at the brand new Afghanistan version of West Point. To MG Greene’s family I offer my sincere condolence. As well, my humble condolences go out to the other victims of the assailant, including a German Brigadier General.

As you all know, I served in Afghanistan as a civilian-military advisor to the Afghan Army and many times had to traverse the Afghan 205th Corps Headquarters, Camp Shir Zai, in Kandahar alone and unarmed.

As reported by U.S. News, Major General Greene and a German Brigadier General were killed Tuesday when an Afghan soldier attacked a meeting of Western soldiers at a military training facility near Kabul, Afghanistan, according to Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that at least 16 International Security Assistance Force members were fired upon at Marshal Fahim National Defense University, according to ABC and NBC News. Kirby said “There are a number of casualties, perhaps up to 15, to include some Americans. Not all of the casualties are American. There were other coalition members that fell victim to this shooting.”

This shooting is a deadly reminder there is still a battle ongoing in Afghanistan. Even though the United States has declared combat operations will be over, the enemy has a vote — and they have clearly voted no. You can be quite sure Taliban leader Mullah Omar will gleefully tout this heinous attack as further proof of the Taliban’s commitment to kill the “infidel” and invader.

The gunman was reportedly an Afghan soldier who was recruited to the military three years ago, according to the BBC. The BBC reports that the shooting took place after an argument broke out at Camp Qargha. “The soldiers were visiting the military academy to help with the buildup of Afghan security forces,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday, according to ABC News. Karzai blamed “enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions.”

Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Tuesday that the attacker was a “terrorist in army uniform,” according to Fox News. Azimi said the attacker was killed and at least three Afghan soldiers were wounded during the conflict.

In a separate attack in Afghanistan’s Paktia province Tuesday, an Afghan police guard fired at NATO troops, according to Fox News. The gunman was killed when NATO forces returned fire, according to provincial police chief Gen. Zelmia Oryakhail.

“Insider attacks” involving Afghan military members had been less common in 2014 and 2013 than they were during more heated chapters of the Afghanistan War, according to Fox News and USA Today. Two Army soldiers were killed by Afghan gunmen wearing military uniforms in February, according to USA Today. A reported 16 soldiers were killed in 10 individual insider attacks in 2013, according to Fox. In 2012, 53 soldiers were killed in 38 reported attacks.

The Taliban will continue to advocate for these “insider” type attacks to degrade the relationship between coalition forces and the Afghans as the drawdown nears. The purpose is to affect the training of the Afghan forces, and instill a lack of trust between trainer and trainee.

However, there is one question I must ask in the case of the assassination of MG Greene. How could an armed Afghan soldier have gained this close access to senior American and German officers? And what was the weapons status of the general’s security detail? If the security detail wasn’t allowed to have chambered rounds, then no one around should have either. Of course, those are the details which an investigation will have to uncover — I just pray the folks in DC care enough to pay attention to the results of the investigation.

Regardless, it once again calls attention to the rules of engagement.

18 COMMENTS

  1. This will be glossed over by Washington and chalked up as an ‘unfortunate and dreadful event’, they might go so far as to call it ‘unacceptable’. That’s all they will do, and meanwhile what do we hear from our president on it? …crickets…

  2. The hosts of Fox & Friends on Wednesday politicized the death of an Army general as a “touchdown for the Taliban” so they could score some points against President Barack Obama.
    “Well, this is a huge touchdown for the Taliban,” Doocy opined.

    What an idiot,,,,
    R.I.P Gen.

    • Your lack of understanding is fathomless. So you think killing an American General was a SETBACK for the Taliban perhaps? They consider the man you killed him a martyr even now cavorting with all those angles. Killing a Major General is a huge coup in this context. Probably being used for Taliban recruitment even as we speak. Its ALWAYS a gain for any enemy to kill or take an enemy high ranking officer out of the fight. Was this directly Obama’s fault? Probably not, but I am not on the ground there and do not know the finer details. I will tell you this, his declaring the War on Terror as “over” probably resulted in great hilarity and celebration in most Islamic countries.
      And yes this killing WAS political. Almost everything is.

      • No one can be as disrespectful of that General, or any other member of the US Armed Forces, than obama-boy. Now if has been some punk who looked like his son killed while trying to commit an anti-homosexual racist hate crime we would be hearing all about him.

      • Majorwiblit, I am with you. I think the description of any killing of a US service member no matter what rank as a touchdown is extremely disrespectful. This is the violent death of a General Officer not a sporting event. And I think Doocy owes an apologey to that man’s family and to the citizens of the Country for his lack of respect. He is a talking head and should learn to use different words to respectfully report the death in combat of any Service member.

      • I would have to say that I think you are the one with the lack of understanding.
        I don’t read anywhere in the comment you choose to disparage where he thinks the killing is a setback for the Taliban. His comment was on the disrespect this TV personality showed in the description of this mans violent death as a TOUCHDOWN for the Taliban. He was pointing out that this is not a sporting event and the choice of wording was disrespectful. Do you disagree for some reason?

  3. First, I have never been to this particular training facility but I did go to many when I was in Afghanistan in 2010, my team would sometimes get tasked to provide security for high ranking officers that wanted to tour training facilities all over the country. We got scolded, to put it lightly, by one ‘battle captain’ because I refused to disarm my men, MRAPs and remove our body armor when we entered his AO – he was an Air Force officer and stated they had a deal worked out with the locals that U.S. forces wouldn’t openly brandish arms in their little valley. I refused to comply and my team got locked in their little FOB while his little detachment of airmen drove off to the ANA compound in two pick ups with the officers we brought to tour it. After the tour they returned and ordered us out of the AO, even followed us out of the valley in their pickups. Point being, it wouldn’t surprise me if this officer didn’t have his PSD with him because he was in a ‘safe’ area. The shenanigans with ROE and this effort to force troops to show trust in the ANA/ANP is what is getting our guys killed in attacks by them. I used to tell my guys whenever we had an ANA escort to be ready to kill them first if we get hit and keep eyes on them at all times.

    • Excellent post! Thank you. And thank you for your brave and dedicated service to a nation and a government that all too often sees you and your brothers-in-arms as expendable tools of “political correctness”.

  4. I wonder how an Army captain could gain access to a gun and shoot up Fort Hood? Or an army solider with mental problems do the same a couple years later?

  5. WHY DO WE HAVE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT WHEN THE ENEMY DOESN’T. WE ARE NO LONGER FIGHTING WARS IN UNIFORMS, OUR ENEMY HASN’T WORN UNIFORMS SINCE VIETNAM. THEY KNOW WHO WE ARE, WE DON’T KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

  6. Condolences to Major General Greene’s family and to his brothers and sisters in uniform. This is an outrage and someone should be held accountable.

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