CIA worker killed during attack in Kabul; Afghan assailant dies
Assaults grow on US forces, allied officials
KABUL - An Afghan working for the US government killed a CIA contractor and wounded another American in an attack on the intelligence agency’s office in Kabul, officials said yesterday, making it the latest in a series of high-profile attacks this month on US targets.
There has been a growing number of attacks this year by Afghans working with international forces in the country. Some assailants have turned out to be Taliban sleeper agents, while others have been motivated by personal grievances.
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 US 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 CIA declined to comment.
Gunfire was first heard sometime after 8 p.m. local time around the former Ariana Hotel, a building that ex-US intelligence officials said is the CIA station in Kabul. The spy agency occupied the heavily secured building, which is just blocks away from the Afghan presidential palace, in late 2001 after the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban.
The US Embassy acknowledged that an Afghan employee of the complex carried out the attack. “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.
The embassy did not provide information on the American who was killed, and said the person wounded in the shooting was taken to a military hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. It said the embassy has “resumed business operations.’’
The attack came less than two weeks after militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles at the US Embassy, NATO headquarters, and other buildings in Kabul, killing seven Afghans.
No embassy or NATO staff members were hurt in the 20-hour assault. But it plunged US-Pakistan relations to new lows as US officials accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency of supporting insurgents in planning and executing the Sept. 13 attack.
Nearly 80 American soldiers were wounded and two Afghan civilians were killed in a truck bombing targeting an American base in eastern Afghanistan on Sept. 10. American officials also blamed that attack on insurgents from the Haqqani network who are allegedly supported by Pakistani intelligence. Senior Pakistani officials reject the allegations.
Sunday’s assault also follows closely on last week’s assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading a government effort to broker peace with the Taliban.
NATO bases and embassies have ramped up security following a number of attacks over the past year by Afghan security forces against their counterparts.
Meanwhile, political tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan continued to mount yesterday. The Afghan Foreign Ministry warned that relations with its neighbor will suffer if cross-border artillery attacks hitting eastern Afghanistan continue.
The Afghan government has said that an unknown number of Afghan civilians have been killed by the shelling coming from Pakistani territory in recent days. The attacks have allegedly destroyed several houses and mosques and displaced hundreds of people.
The Foreign Ministry quoted Mohammad Sadeq, Pakistan’s ambassador in Kabul, as saying that the attacks were not intentional.