US & Canada

Body of US general killed by Afghan soldier returns

A US Army detail carries a transfer case with the body of Major General Harold Greene during a dignified transfer at the Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware 7 August 2014 Image copyright Reuters

The body of a US general killed in Afghanistan has returned to the US in a military ceremony in Delaware.

Major General Harold Greene was killed by an Afghan soldier at a British-run military academy near Kabul.

Soldiers carried a metal case draped with the US flag with Greene's remains off a military plane to a mortuary vehicle as Army officials saluted.

Maj Gen Greene is the highest-ranking US military official to have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He was the deputy commanding general for the Combined Security Transition Command, involved in preparations for the withdrawal of coalition troops at the end of the year.

The BBC understands the shooting at Camp Qargha happened after a dispute broke out.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Maj Gen Greene is the most senior US soldier to die in combat since the Vietnam War
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Top US Army officials saluted Maj Gen Greene's remains during the ceremony

The Afghan soldier, who was recruited three years ago, opened fire from a guard post at a large group of senior Afghan and international troops, Afghan defence ministry sources told the BBC.

The gunman was shot and killed.

The Pentagon described it as an isolated attack and insisted that there has been no breakdown of trust between coalition soldiers and their Afghan counterparts. At least 15 soldiers were wounded.

Eye-witness of attack

The first three shots hit the ground and no one knew where the shots were coming from. The gunshots continued for about three minutes. Everybody was shouting from all sides.

About three minutes into the shooting, one bodyguard located the shooter and shot him. It was then we realised that the attacker was shooting from the small window of a bathroom in a single-storey building about five metres from where everyone had gathered.

We heard a shout that "Gen Greene is down, bring the first aid kit". He had already died.

The witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, was speaking to the BBC Afghan service in Kabul

Maj Gen Greene's return comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Afghanistan to try to resolve the crisis surrounding the recent disputed presidential poll.

He will meet presidential rivals Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah on his two-day visit to discuss recounting votes.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Maj Gen Greene's family leaves the military transport during the ceremony
Image copyright AP
Image caption Dover Air Force Base is home to the country's largest military mortuary

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