Wednesday, August 6, 2014
United States Army Major General Harold J. Greene was killed yesterday afternoon in an apparent insider or ‘green on blue’ attack at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. His death marks the first death of a United States general since the September 11th attacks and the first on foreign soil since the Vietnam War. Along with the death of Major General Greene, fifteen others were wounded in the attack including a German brigadier general, eight US soldiers, a number of British soldiers, and three Afghan soldiers.
The attack started during a routine visit, when an individual, reportedly an Afghan National Army soldier, opened fire with a light assault rifle from inside a building, 100 yards (90 meters) away from where Greene and others were standing. Soldiers fired back and killed the attacker. The Pentagon Press Secretary, US Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, said, “There are a number of casualties as a result of the shooting, perhaps up to 15, to include some Americans”. Kirby added, “Many were seriously wounded. Others received only minor injuries. The assailant was killed.”
An Afghan Defense Ministry spokesperson, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, said the attacker was a “terrorist dressed in an Afghan army uniform.” The Taliban acknowledged the attack and praised it, but did not claim responsibility for it.
Greene was serving as deputy commanding general of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan at the time of his death. He was previously Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management in the office of the United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. Greene joined the Army as an officer in 1980 after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
In a statement Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno gave his condolences, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene’s family, and the families of our soldiers who were injured today in the tragic events that took place in Afghanistan. These soldiers were professionals, committed to the mission. It is their service and sacrifice that define us as an Army.”