A US military spokesman in Afghanistan has confirmed that Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was injured last week in a Taliban attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan. On October 18, a gunman attacked U.S. and Afghan forces who had been holding a security meeting at the Kandahar Palace. Abdul Raziq Achakzai, the police chief of Kandahar, died in the attack, and at least two Americans were wounded. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
The US military said that US Army General Scott Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was in the Kandahar Palace but was not injured in the attack. Sources told the Washington Post that General Smiley had suffered at least one gunshot wound and is recovering.
Here’s what you need to know about General Smiley:
1. Smiley Has Been Based in Kandahar, Training Afghan Forces, Since August 2018
General Smiley is a member of the US National Guard. He was sent to Kandahar Province, in Afghanistan, in August of this year, on a mission to command, train, advise, assist, and command. His command was tasked with training and advising Afghan security forces, and assisting with counterterrorism operations.
In 2010, Smiley went to Gamberi, Afghanistan to serve as TAC-1 Chief of Staff of the Combined Joint Task Force. He spent a year in that post before returning to the United States.
Before coming to Afghanistan, Smiley was posted in Los Alamitos, California, where he was Deputy Commanding General of the 40th Infantry Division.
2. Smily Began His Military Career as an Engineer in the Marine Corps
Smiley joined the Marines in 1983. He soon transferred to the Oregon National Guard, and then to the California National Guard. He was commissioned in 1988.
Smiley held several infantry company commands and also served ten years with the California National Guard Counterdrug program. He first deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, serving as Chief of Staff. He was eventually promoted to Deputy Commanding Officer of the 101st Airborne Division’s Tactical Command Post and served as a senior mentor to the 201st Corps Afghan Army, the 202nd Shamshod Afghan National Police, and the Zone 1 Afghan Border Police.
3. He Has Been Awarded the Legion of Merit Award
Smiley holds a number of military awards. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, as well as a bronze star medal. He was also honored with the meritorious service medal, the army commendation medal, the air force commendation medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the NATO medal, among others.
In August, Smiley was sent to Kandahar Province to lead a command that trains and advises Afghan security forces, and assists the Afghan army in their counterterrorism operations in the southern part of the country. He was wounded in a Taliban attack on October 19 and is being treated at a hospital in Kandahar.
4. Smiley Is a Graduate of the US War College
Smiley has a BA from Columbia College, in Missouri. He also has an MSS from the US War College, where he specialized in Strategic Studies.
Since this summer, Smiley has headed up NATO’s military advisory team in Kandahar Province. He was wounded in a surprise attack on Kandahar Palace on October 19, when the head of police for the province was shot dead. At least one other American was injured in that attack.
5. Smiley Remains in Command of the Southern Mission
Army spokespeople have not given out much detail about the nature of Smiley’s injuries. But they have confirmed that he was injured and that he is being treated for his injuries in a military hospital in Kandahar; he was not evacuated.
“I can confirm that he is recovering from a gunshot wound,” Navy Lieutenant Commander Grant Neeley told Task and Purpose. Neeley said that for the time being, at least, Smiley remains the TAAC-South commander.
The Taliban has said that it was behind last week’s attack. The group said it was targeting General Scott Miller, who was also in the Kandahar Palace at the time. Miller was not hurt in the attack.