The New York Times is reporting that an American two-star general has been killed in Afghanistan, citing “officials of the American-led coalition” in the country.
The AP has identified the officer as Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene. According to a Washington Post profile, Greene had been in the U.S. military since 1980, and was a “key player in the effort to stand up Afghan security forces.”
Greene is the highest-ranking American military official killed during the now-12-year-old U.S. operation in Afghanistan, and this attack comes just months before the U.S. is scheduled to cease major combat operations in accordance with the Obama administration’s announced timetable for withdrawal from the country.
The major general was shot and killed in an “insider attack” — or an attack undertaken by a uniformed member of the Afghan National Army or police.
The attacks have declined in number in recent years, but became more common as the coalition campaign in Afghanistan continued and as more Afghans were trained and integrated into their country’s military. One of the coalition’s top objectives is transferring Afghanistan’s security burden to its citizens — a drive that also made the country’s military more susceptible to terrorist infiltrators.
A record 37 insider attacks in 2012 left more than 50 people dead, compared with just two attacks in 2008, according to USA Today.
In addition to leading to the death of a top U.S. military official, Tuesday’s attack casts a harsh spotlight on the questionable success the U.S.-led coalition has really made in handing off security responsibilities to the Afghan government.
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