Afghan employee kills US citizen at Kabul CIA base

Gunfire was heard from a compound used by the US`s CIA in Kabul, Afghan officials said on Sunday, although details of any deaths or injuries were unclear.

Kabul: An Afghan employee of the US government opened fire inside a CIA office in Kabul on Sunday evening, killing an American and injuring a second, U.S. and Afghan officials said, in the second major breach of embassy security in two weeks.

The attacker was killed, and the injured U.S. citizen was taken to a military hospital with non-life threatening injuries, U.S. embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall said on Monday.

It was not clear if the U.S. citizens were victims of a rogue employee who had been won over to the insurgent cause, or just the escalation of an argument in a city were tensions are high and many people carry guns. There are precedents for both.

"There was a shooting incident at an annex of the U.S. embassy in Kabul last night involving an Afghan employee who was killed. The motivation for the attack is still under investigation at this time," Sundwall said.

The Taliban could not immediately be reached for comment.

The shooting came the same month that insurgents took over an unfinished high-rise near the city`s heavily guarded military, political and diplomatic heart and showered rockets down on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters.

That attack lasted 20 hours, and the U.S. has blamed it on the Haqqani network of militants, who were long based in Pakistan`s lawless frontier regions although they now say they have moved back into Afghanistan.

Washington accused Pakistan`s spy service of offering them support. Pakistan has strongly denied the allegations.

Sunday`s shooting happened at the Ariana hotel, just a few blocks away from the Presidential Palace and the U.S. embassy, and used by the Central Intelligence Agency as a Kabul base.

Kabul Police Chief Ayub Salangi said there had been an exchange of fire at the hotel, which he described as an "office" for the CIA, but declined further comment on what happened in an area where access is restricted even for Afghan forces.

The hotel has been closed off and heavily guarded at least since the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001. Perhaps because of its proximity to the Presidential Palace, it was used by ruling regimes for years before that.


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