WASHINGTON — The news that a two-star general was shot inAfghanistan Tuesday – the first US general to be killed in action during America’s wars in Iraq or Afghanistan – will inevitably renew questions about the threat of insider attacks on US troops, and whether a change in the US game plan might be in order to mitigate those risks.
More than a dozen troops, including other Americans and a German brigadier general, were wounded in the attack by a gunman who is believed to have been an Afghan soldier.
The shooting took place at a military training center in Kabul – a pointed setting for the attack, given that it is now mission No. 1 for American troops to train their Afghan counterparts in preparation for the departure of US combat forces at the end of this year.
Top Pentagon officials insist there is no reason why the death of the highest-ranking US officer in America’s post-9/11 war effort will change US strategy.
Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) “continue to perform at a very strong level of competence and confidence – and warfare capability,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said during a briefing with reporters Tuesday, adding that the Pentagon is withholding the general officer’s name pending the notification of his family.
That said, he acknowledged the ever-present danger of insider attacks, calling them “a pernicious threat.”