The US serviceman injured in the insider attack that killed two top Afghan officials in the Kandahar province on Thursday was Army Brigadier General Jeffrey D. Smiley.
Gen. Smiley’s identity was not disclosed until yesterday, three days after a gunman believed to be an Afghan bodyguard opened fire on American and Afghan security forces, killing Kandahar’s police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and top intelligence official Gen. Abdul Mohmin.
The province’s Governor Zalmai Wesa was also wounded, along with another American civilian employee and an Afghan interpreter.
Brigadier General Jeffrey D. Smiley who was wounded in Thursday’s insider attack in Afghanistan
The lone insider gunman, thought to be part of the provincial Governor’s elite security team, was shot dead by the US military,CNN reported.
The top American military commander in Afghanistan, General Austin ‘Scott’ Miller, was also present during that attack and forced to draw his handgun, though he did not fire and was unharmed.
Lt. Cmdr. Grant Neeley, a spokesman for the NATO-led training command ‘Resolute Support’ told ABC news on Sunday: ‘I can confirm that General Smiley is recovering from a gunshot wound.
‘He is being treated at a Resolute Support hospital in Kandahar.’
Gen. Smiley has been the commander of the Training and Advise and Assist Command-South (TAAC-South) since June. He has served in the Army for 30 years, becoming a general last year.
Gen. Scott Miller, head of US and NATO forces in the country was present when an Afghan bodyguard shot dead an Afghan intelligence officer and police chief in a Taliban-credited attack
The TAAC-South plays the leading role in advising Afghan security forces in the south of the country.
He is in command of the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry, one of the leading units in Kandahar.
Gen. Miller, who is the head of US and NATO forces in the country, told the Tolo News Agency on Friday he believes the attacker was specifically targeting the Afghan officials.
‘What happened in Kandahar was an attack on the security forces,’ he said.
‘My assessment is that I was not the target. It was a very close confined space. But I don’t assess that I was the target.’
Col. Dave Butler from Resolute support said the attack was ‘over in a matter of seconds’, according to ABC.
The began shortly after Gen. Miller had attended a meeting with the top civilian and military officials in Kandahar.
Kandahar Gov. Zalmai Wesa (L) stands with the head of NATO troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller (C), and a translator during a meeting in Kandahar, Afghanistan on October 18,
The insider began shooting while the group waited outside for Miller’s helicopter and caught the American military by surprise.
Miller, who was not in the direct line of fire but was stood close by, drew his weapon along with the other US personnel, which Butler says is standard procedure.
‘When there’s a threat, we will draw our weapons,’ he said. ‘That’s what we’re trained to do and Gen. Miller is no exception.’
However, US military officials could not immediately the last time such a high-ranking US military officer had been forced to draw their weapon. Generals rarely find themselves under attack and even more rarely are they wounded.
Gen. Abdul Raziq, the Kandahar police chief, who was killed in a targeted attack on Thursday. US US Defense Secretary James Mattis called his death the ‘loss of a patriot’
Its appears to be the closest an American commanding general has come to being seriously injured in Afghanistan.
After the gunman was shot, American and Afghan forces secured the area and tended to the wounded, some of whom were treated on board Gen. Miller’s helicopter.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they killed ‘the notorious police chief’ who was the main target.
The parliamentary elections in Kandahar, which were due to take place two days after the incident, have been by a week.
In a video recorded from his hospital bed, wounded Kandahar Governor Zalmai Wesa said he was in a better condition but called Thursday’s attack an act of terror.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that he had met the police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and that he was a ‘patriot.’
In a statement provided by the NATO-led coalition, Gen. Miller said: ‘Today I lost a great friend LTG Raziq.
Military personnel held a photo of Gen. Abdul Raziq, Kandahar police chief, who was killed by a guard, during his burial ceremony on Friday, October 19
‘We had served together for many years. Afghanistan lost a patriot, my condolences to the people of Afghanistan.
‘The good he did for Afghanistan and the Afghan people cannot be undone.’
Raziq was also dogged by accusations of serious human rights abuses – with the U.N. Committee against Torture calling for him to be prosecuted over allegations of torture and enforced disappearances.
Yet he was hugely influential in southern Afghanistan and US forces supported him as a bugger against insurgent and credited him with recent security improvements.
One thing is certain, that his death throws the region’s future into uncertainty while the country is at a huge political crossroads.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said Thursday that he had ordered his security officials to investigate the attack.
Kandahar has been relatively stable compared to other regions of Afghanistan, but the assassination of a key American ally will cast doubts over its future stability as the government prepares for the long-awaited parliamentary elections.