An Afghan employed by the U.S. government killed one American and wounded another in an attack on a CIA office in Kabul, officials said Monday.
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.
A U.S. Embassy statement said the Afghan employee was shot dead after he turned his weapon on his American colleagues. The embassy did not provide information on the U.S. citizen killed in the attack, and said 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 closely on 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 troopers killed so far this month.
NPR’s Quil Lawrence reported from Kabul. Afghanistan, for this story, which contains material from The Associated Press.