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Apr 27th, 2011

Rogue Afghan Pilot Kills 9 Americans

Shooting follows string of attacks by Afghan forces against their NATO-led mentors


Afghan pilot kills 9 Americans (MSNBC, April 27, 2011) — An Afghan Air Force pilot shot and killed eight NATO service members and one contractor at an airport in Kabul. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports. (01:18)

The Associated Press, Reuters, and NBC News via
April 27, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — Eight American troops and a U.S. contractor died Wednesday after an Afghan military pilot opened fire during a meeting at Kabul airport — the deadliest episode to date of an Afghan turning against his coalition partners, officials said.

The Afghan officer, who was a veteran military pilot, fired on the Americans after an argument, the Afghan Defense Ministry said.

The shooting occurred in an operations room of the Afghan Air Corps at Kabul airport.

“Suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, shooting started,” said Afghan Air Corps spokesman Col. Bahader, who uses only one name. “After the shooting started, we saw a number of Afghan army officers and soldiers running out of the building. Some were even throwing themselves out of the windows to get away.”

Five Afghan soldiers were injured. At least one Afghan soldier was shot — in the wrist — but most of the soldiers suffered broken bones and cuts, Bahader said.

An Afghan pilot who spoke on condition of anonymity identified the gunman as Ahmad Gul from Tarakhail district of Kabul province. The shooter was killed in the incident.

The suspect’s brother, Dr. Mohammad Hassan Sahibi, said he had been battling financial troubles. Sahibi said his brother had no ties to insurgents. …

It was the seventh time so far this year that members of the Afghan security forces, or insurgents impersonating them, have killed coalition soldiers or members of the Afghan security forces. …

The shooting follows a string of attacks by Afghan forces against their NATO-led mentors carried out either by “rogue” soldiers or by insurgents in uniform who have managed to infiltrate their ranks. Taliban insurgents have stepped up their attacks on government and military installations across Afghanistan.

  • On April 18, an insurgent managed to sneak past security at the heavily fortified Afghan Defense Ministry compound in the capital and killed two Afghan soldiers and an officer.
  • On April 16, an Afghan soldier walked into a meeting of NATO trainers and Afghan troops at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan and detonated a vest of explosives hidden underneath his uniform. The blast, the worst before Wednesday’s shooting, killed six American troops, four Afghan soldiers and an interpreter.
  • On April, 15, a suicide bomber dressed as a policeman blew himself up inside the Kandahar police headquarters complex, killing the top law enforcement officer in the restive southern province.
  • In northwest Afghanistan, a man wearing an Afghan border police uniform shot and killed two American military personnel on April 4 in Faryab. The gunman was upset over the recent burning of the Quran at a Florida church [link added], according to NATO intelligence officials.
  • In February, an Afghan soldier, who felt he had been personally offended by his German partners, shot and killed three German soldiers and wounded six others in the northern province of Baghlan.
  • In January, an Afghan soldier killed an Italian soldier and wounded another in Badghis province. The two soldiers were cleaning their weapons at a combat outpost when an Afghan soldier approached them with an M16 rifle and asked to use their equipment to clean his gun. The Italians saw that the Afghan soldier’s rifle was loaded and asked him to unload it, at which point the Afghan soldier shot the two Italians and escaped from the base.

Before the airport shooting, the coalition had recorded 20 incidents since March 2009 where a member of the Afghan security forces or someone wearing a uniform used by them attacked coalition forces, killing a total of 36. It is not known how many of the 282,000 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in these type of incidents.

According to information compiled by NATO, half of the 20 incidents involved the impersonation of an Afghan policeman or soldier. The cause of the other 10 incidents were attributed to combat stress or unknown reasons. …

Full story



Afghan who killed 9 Americans acted alone (, April 29, 2011) — An Afghan pilot who gunned down nine Americans acted alone and was armed with two weapons when he began his rampage, according to preliminary findings of the shooting investigation, NBC News reported Friday. Investigators have found no connection between the shooter and the Taliban, but they have not conclusively ruled out that possibility, NBC news said. … Full story

The Americans have been identified as:

  • Maj. Philip D. Ambard, 44, of Edmonds, Wash. He was assigned to the 460th Space Communications Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
  • Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn, 41, of Gadsden, Ala. He was assigned to the 99th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
  • Maj. David L. Brodeur, 34, of Auburn, Mass. He was assigned to the 11th Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
  • Master Sgt. Tara R. Brown, 33, of Deltona, Fla. She was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
  • Lt. Col. Frank D. Bryant Jr., 37, of Knoxville, Tenn. He was assigned to the 56th Operations Group, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
  • Maj. Raymond G. Estelle II, 40, of New Haven, Conn. He was assigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
  • Capt. Nathan J. Nylander, 35, of Hockley, Texas. He was assigned to the 25th Operational Weather Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.
  • Capt. Charles A. Ransom, 31, of Midlothian, Va. He was assigned to the 83rd Network Operations Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
  • James McLaughlin Jr., 55, of Santa Rosa, Calif. He was a civilian contractor who retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army in 2007 after 25 years of military service, according to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.


Related reports on this site


U.S. troops killed by uniform-clad Afghan gunman (NBC “Today,” Nov. 29, 2010) — A gunman dressed as an Afghan border policeman opened fire at a military outpost, killing six Americans in the gruesome attack. Jim Miklaszewski reports. (00:59)

Setback for U.S. in Afghan War (Jan. 13, 2012)

Afghan Guard Turns Gun on Americans (July 9, 2011)

Afghan Policeman Kills U.S. Troops (Dec. 1, 2010)

Reported Fragging in Iraq (Sept. 27, 2010)

Iraqi Soldier Guns Down U.S. Troops (Sept. 8, 2010)

Afghan Soldier Kills U.S. Troop (Dec. 29, 2009)

GI Opens Fire on U.S. Troops in Iraq (May 12, 2009)

Iraq Insurgent Infiltration (May 2, 2009)

Iraqi Soldier Kills U.S. Troops (Nov. 13, 2008)


1/18/2012 Update

Afghan Blamed for 9 American Deaths ‘Acted Alone’

By Courtney Kube and Jim Miklaszewski

January 17, 2012

An Air Force investigation has found that an Afghan military officer “acted alone” when he killed eight American airmen and one American contractor last year.

Investigators concluded that Afghan Maj. Gen. Ahmed Gul simply set out to “kill Americans” when he went on a shooting rampage at the Kabul airport military training center on April 27.

Without warning, Gul opened fire with a 9mm automatic pistol in a meeting room crowded with Air Force instructors and Afghan military students, killing the nine Americans. Before killing himself with his own weapon, Gul wrote the words, “Allah is one” and “Allah in your name” in blood on a stairwell wall.

Despite those writings, the report did not find that Gul was an Islamic radical, either working with or influenced by the Taliban. Instead, the investigation found that Gul apparently suffered mental issues that were further compounded by financial problems. …

Full story


4/28/2012 Update

Afghan Commando Kills Special Forces Soldier: U.S. Training Mission futile?

Afghan special forces demonstrate a raid for rescuing a hostage during a showing to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, unseen, at the commando training center in Kabul, Afghanistan, in April 2012. (Photo credit: Musadeq Sadeq/AP via The Christian Science Monitor)

By Anna Mulrine

April 27, 2012

The latest killing of a US soldier at the hands of an Afghan counterpart – this time of a US Special Operations Forces soldier by a US-trained Afghan commando – raises anew concerns about America’s ability to build a credible Afghan security force before 2014, when US combat forces are scheduled to leave the country.

In total, so-called green-on-blue killings now account for 20 percent of the 84 NATO casualties in 2012.

The fatal shooting during a joint night raid Thursday marks the first killing of a US Special Forces operative by one of the elite, highly trained Afghan commandos, who are meant to be more carefully vetted than their conventional force counterparts. Largely as a result, the commandos have been widely praised by US forces for their competence. …

Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — April 27, 2010

Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties

One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army Staff Sgt. James R. Patton, 23, Fort Benning, Ga., died April 18, 2010 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries sustained as the result of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

Jimmy Patton, who enlisted in the Army in 2004, was known for his qualities as a soldier — for being “the life of his platoon,” said Col. Dan Walrath, Patton’s commander.

Maj. Ken Rutka of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., said Patton was a “phenomenal Ranger.” 

Staff Sgt. Patton was on his seventh deployment, having previously served twice in Iraq and four times in Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, Beatriz; a daughter, Cecilia; and his parents.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — April 27, 2009

Iraq Wants U.S. Troops On Trial

A man carries the body of his granddaughter, who was killed in Baghdad on Friday in a bomb attack, in Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, April 25, 2009. In a second day of major bloodshed in Iraq, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Shi’ite Muslim shrine in Baghdad, killing 60 people, police said. (Photo credit: Reuters / Ali Abu Shish)

Two years ago today, on April 27, 2009, I reported that Iraq’s prime minister denounced a deadly U.S. raid as a “crime” that violated its security pact with Washington and demanded American commanders hand over those responsible to face possible trial in Iraqi courts.

9 Responses to “Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Dark Day for US in Afghanistan Says:

    […] It was the deadliest day for coalition forces in Afghanistan since April 27, when a veteran Afghan military pilot opened fire at Kabul airport and killed eight U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor. […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan Guard Turns Gun on Americans Says:

    […] Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers (April 27, 2011) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » American Killed by Rogue Afghan Worker Inside Kabul CIA Office Says:

    […] Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers (April 27, 2011) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Setback for U.S. in Afghan War Says:

    […] The deadliest single instance of American and other coalition forces in Afghanistan being killed by Afghan security personnel came in April 2011 when an Afghan Air Force colonel, Ahmed Gul, killed eight unsuspecting American officers and a contractor with shots to the head inside their headquarters. […]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » U.S. Soldiers Posed With Body Parts of Afghan Suicide Bombers Says:

    […] A spike in so-called green-on-blue attacks — by Afghan army and police on U.S. and other foreign forces — has stoked concern that some of that anger is spilling over into the security forces and turning them against their Western allies. […]

  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan Policeman Kills US Troops Says:

    […] Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers (April 27, 2011) […]

  7. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan Soldier Kills U.S. Troop Says:

    […] Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers (April 27, 2011) […]

  8. Immelman vs. Bachmann » Blog Archive » Two American Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Over Koran Burning Says:

    […] Rogue Afghan Shoots U.S. Trainers (April 27, 2011) […]

  9. Immelman vs. Bachmann » Blog Archive » Afghanistan ‘Green-on-Blue’ Insider Attacks Says:

    […] The deadliest single incident came in April 2011 when an Afghan Air Force colonel, Ahmed Gul, killed eight unsuspecting American officers and a contractor with shots to the head inside their headquarters. […]

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