Friday 15 December 2017

Afghan killer of US general was hiding in the bathroom

Major General Greene
Major General Greene

Robert Burns

The Afghan soldier who killed a US two-star general and wounded other top officers hid in a bathroom before his assault and used a Nato assault rifle in his attack, an Afghan military official said yesterday.

It's also been revealed that the killer often dined alone and saw Western forces as infidels, according to an officer at the training ground where the attack took place.

The investigation into the killing of Major General Harold J Greene - the highest-ranked US officer to be slain in combat since 1970 in the Vietnam War - focused on the Afghan soldier, who went by the single name Rafiqullah, the official said.

The shooting wounded about 15 people, including a German general and two Afghan generals, before Rafiqullah was killed, the official said.

However, Rafiqullah's motive for the attack remained unclear yesterday as American officials prepared to fly Greene's body back to the US.

Meanwhile, a similar attack saw an Afghan police officer drug and shoot dead seven of his colleagues, authorities said.

Rafiqullah, in his early 20s, had joined the Afghan army more than two years ago and came from the country's eastern Paktia province, the Afghan official said.

On Tuesday, Rafiqullah had just returned from a patrol around the greater Camp Qargha, west of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The official said it appeared others on patrol with Rafiqullah had turned in their Nato-issued assault rifles on arrival, but Rafiqullah kept his and hid in a bathroom. Rafiqullah opened fire when the generals walked into view, the official said.

About half of the wounded in Tuesday's attack at Marshal Fahim National Defence University were Americans, several of them reported to be in serious condition. There was no indication that Greene was specifically targeted, a US official said.

The Afghan military official said there was no motive yet for Rafiqullah's attack, though he came from a district in Paktia province known to harbour fighters from the Haqqani network, which has strong links to the Taliban and conducts attacks against US forces.

In a statement, Nato said Greene's body was yesterday being prepared to be flown to the US via Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Major General Greene's family, and the families of our soldiers who were injured yesterday in the tragic events that took place in Kabul," Nato said.

"These soldiers were professionals, committed to the mission."

The German Defence Ministry yesterday identified its wounded officer as Brig Gen. Michael Bartscher.

It said that he was in stable condition at Baghram airfield and that authorities were considering bringing him back home.

A German Defence Ministry spokesman told journalists in Berlin that the German government condemned the "malicious and cowardly attack".

Irish Independent

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