American Killed In Attack On CIA Office In Kabul

An Afghan working for the U.S. government killed a CIA contractor and wounded another American in an attack on the intelligence agency's office in Kabul, officials said Monday, making it the latest in a series of high-profile attacks this month on U.S. targets.

Sunday's shooting is the latest in a growing number of attacks this year by Afghans working for international forces. Some assailants have turned out to be Taliban sleeper agents, while others have been motivated by private grievances.

Gunfire was first heard sometime after 8 p.m. local time around the former Ariana Hotel, a building that ex-U.S. intelligence officials said is the CIA station in Kabul. The spy agency occupied the heavily secured building just blocks from the Afghan presidential palace in late 2001 after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban.

The assailant in Sunday evening's shooting was killed, and it was not yet clear if he acted alone or if he belonged to an insurgent group.

A U.S. official in Washington said the Afghan attacker was providing security to the CIA office and that the American who died was working as a contractor for the CIA. The official requested anonymity because he was speaking about intelligence matters.

The American wounded in the shooting was taken to a military hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

"The motivation for the attack is still under investigation," the embassy said in a statement.

Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall declined to comment on what the targeted annex was used for, citing security reasons. Sundwall said the Afghan employee was not authorized to carry a weapon, and it was not clear how the man was able to get a gun into the secured compound.

Kabul was already on tenterhooks after two major attacks in two weeks — including a barrage of rockets fired at the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings in Kabul that paralyzed part of Kabul for 20 hours. U.S. military officials blame Afghan militants with direct links to the Pakistani intelligence service for that attack.

Sunday's assault also follows last week's assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading a government effort to broker peace with the Taliban. He was killed when an insurgent who had claimed to be a peace emissary exploded a bomb hidden in his turban upon meeting Rabbani.

President Hamid Karzai called Rabbani's death a "big loss" and said greater security measures should be taken to protect top Afghan figures, including religious clerics and tribal leaders. Intelligence officials have said one person has been arrested in connection with the assassination, and that authorities were close to uncovering the details of the killing.

In the south, meanwhile, a NATO service member was killed in a bomb attack Monday, making a total of 38 international troops killed so far this month.

NPR's Quil Lawrence reported from Kabul, Afghanistan, for this story, which contains material from The Associated Press.

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