Robert Harneis –TDO-(FRANCE)- The Pentagon has finally admitted that Brigadier-General Smiley was shot and wounded during attack that killed top Afghan regional officials on Thursday. It appears General Scott Miller the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, who is currently in charge of the war, was also in the room during the attack, though he appears to be one of the few who got out unharmed. In addition to Smiley, an unnamed American civilian was also shot. According to CNN, Miller, drew his sidearm during the attack that took place in a Kandahar compound, according to a coalition member with direct knowledge of what happened.
The insider attack in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province effectively killed all of the top-ranking security officials in the provincial government. At the time the Pentagon downplayed the incident, saying two Americans were wounded, but that the top general present was unharmed.
What they didn’t reveal until Sunday was that the “serviceman” wounded in the attack was actually Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley, a high-ranking advisor for the NATO mission in southern Afghanistan. He was shot, and is recovering.
Already the most significant insider attack of the war, this makes it an even more serious attack, as it means a Taliban gunman got close enough to shoot the US and NATO commander.
General Miller said on Friday he did not believe he was the target of an attack. Afghan officials said the gunman may have deliberately avoided hitting him. "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," Miller told Afghanistan's Tolo News TV in an interview.
"They didn't want repercussions from the U.S. and the international community. It was a pure warning for Miller that they can hit him if they want to," one of the Afghan officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
However, the Taliban who claimed the attack in a statement saying Miller was one of the targets.
The identity of the killer who was killed, named by Afghan officials as Gulbuddin, was known immediately, and police have made three arrests, but details of his background or why he carried out the attack remained unclear.
One senior foreign security official briefed on the case said the attacker had been recruited this year as part of the governor's security detail.
No one had claimed his body, but his colleagues in the security team said his family members lived in the outskirts of Kandahar.
On Friday, the chief of the Pakistan army staff issued a statement condemning the Kandahar violence and saying it supported initiatives towards peace in the region.