U.S. General killed in Afghan attack identified as Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene

UPDATE:

(CNN) -- The U.S. general killed in an attack at a training facility in Afghanistan Tuesday was Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, U.S. officials told CNN.

Pentagon spokesman Adm. John Kirby declined to identify Greene by name, but did offer a description of the deceased officer's accomplishments during a CNN interview by stating that he was a "very experienced officer" with "a lot of staff tours."

The slain officer was also an "expert in infrastructure improvement, logistics" and was a "leader there in the training command in Afghanistan," Kirby said.

 

EARLIER:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A gunman believed to be an Afghan soldier opened fire at a training facility in Kabul and killed an American general -- carnage that a Pentagon spokesman said marked the death of one of the highest-ranked U.S. military service members since 9/11.

That spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, outlined the still-emerging details of Tuesday's rampage for reporters. He said that in addition to the general's slaying, up to 15 coalition troops were wounded.

The casualties include other Americans, he said.

In Washington, Kirby told reporters that the shooter was wearing an Afghan military uniform and is believed to be someone who had served for some time in a unit of the Afghan armed forces.

The general's name was not being released until his family can be notified, Kirby said.

ISAF and Afghan forces are jointly investigating the attack, the spokesman said.

The bloodshed happened at Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul, said NATO's International Security Assistance Force in a statement, clarifying earlier information from ISAF which reported that the shooting happened at Camp Qargha.

Earlier, the German military said that the violence broke out during a "key leader" event, and that one person was killed and 14 were injured, including a German brigadier general.

Kirby said that coalition troops were on a routine visit to the training facility.

The Afghan Defense Ministry described the shooter as a "terrorist" and said Afghan soldiers shot him dead.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid praised the gunman in a statement released Tuesday, but the statement did not claim responsibility for the violence.

President Obama was briefed about the shooting, said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, adding that Obama called Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to get more information.

"While we have made tremendous progress in disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda operations and leadership in Afghanistan and progress in winding down U.S. involvement in that conflict, this shooting, of course is a painful reminder of the service and sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make every day for this country," Earnest said.

In February the Obama administration announced for the first time that it had begun planning for the possible withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2014 if Afghanistan did not sign a security agreement pertaining to rights of U.S. troops operating there.

The Afghan Defense Ministry described the shooter as a "terrorist" and said Afghan soldiers shot him dead.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid praised the gunman in a statement released Tuesday, but the statement did not claim responsibility for the violence.

In the past, people dressed in Afghan security forces uniforms have attacked coalition forces who have worked to thwart such violence.

In 2012, so-called "green on blue" attacks took the lives of dozens of coalition troops, and the U.S. command in Kabul halted some joint operations with Afghan security forces, CNN has previously reported.

Two attackers wearing Afghan military uniforms killed two U.S. service members in February in Afghanistan, the military publication Stars and Stripes reported.

In October 2013, a man in an Afghan soldier's uniform shot and killed an ISAF member in eastern Afghanistan, CNN reported.

According to an April 2013 Pentagon report, insider attacks against ISAF forces declined from 48 attacks in 2012 to 15 attacks in 2013. In the first quarter of 2014, there were two insider attacks against ISAF.

"Despite this sharp decline, these attacks may still have strategic effects on the campaign and could jeopardize the relationship between coalition and ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] personnel," the report reads.

Kirby called insider attacks "a pernicious threat" that are "difficult to always ascertain, to come to grips with... anywhere, particularly in a place like Afghanistan."

"Afghanistan is still a war zone."

"It's impossible to eliminate that threat (of insider attacks) but you can work hard to mitigate it" and ISAF has done that, he said.

Kirby noted the drop in the number of "green on blue" attacks and told reporters Tuesday that Afghan National Security Forces "continue to perform at a very strong level of competence and confidence, and warfare capability."

He said that the U.S. military feels that the Afghan military "grows stronger by the week" and noted that they are

already "in the lead in combat missions" throughout the country.

"They'll be completely in the lead for military operations by the end of the year," Kirby said. "We see no change in that."

Earnest said that there are numerous security protocols were instituted a few years ago to help ensure military personnel are safe. The U.S. will "review" the circumstances of Tuesday's shooting to see if any changes should be made.

CNN's Jim Sciutto reported from Washington, and Ashley Fantz reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Anna-Maja Rappard and Shawn Nottingham also contributed to this report.

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