US Embassy Kabul: Not Safe Even Inside the Bunker; One Amcit Killed, One Wounded by Afghan Employee

US Embassy Kabul Statement on the September 25 Evening Shooting Incident at an Embassy Annex:

“There was a shooting incident at an annex of U.S. Embassy Kabul in the evening of September 25.  The lone gunman, an Afghan employee, was killed.  The motivation for the attack is still under investigation. One U.S. citizen was killed and one wounded, who was evacuated to a military hospital with non-life threatening injuries. We mourn the loss of life in the incident, and express our heartfelt condolences to the families. The Embassy has resumed business operations.”

CSMonitor has more on this attack:

“Sunday’s shooting could be of particular significance as it took place inside an area of the Embassy known to be used by the Central Intelligence Agency. It may also be the first time an Afghan working with a Western civilian organization killed his counterparts.

US officials have remained exceptionally tight-lipped about the incident, likely due to its potential link with the CIA. Intelligence officials have yet to offer any public comments and the Embassy issued only a brief statement confirming the shooting and saying, “The lone gunman, an Afghan employee, was killed. The motivation for the attack is still under investigation.”

Hamsters on the Titanic (
Sure the deck’s slanting, but this wheel is fun!) in And then they tried to blow up the CIA writes:

And it is on like Donkey Kong. Well, probably no more “on” than it was before insurgents apparently tried to blow up the Ariana Hotel, used by the CIA in Kabul. There was some gunfire in my neighborhood last night, which was probably related to a reported attempt by President Karzai to visit Rabbani’s home to pay final respects.

I don’t know if that gunfire was any kind of attack, or the ANSF
attempting to disperse some kind of crowd, or what, but it doesn’t
appear that there was an attack in my particular piece of the Kabul
landscape. What did actually happen no one actually knows, since it all
took place within the the confines of the Ariana.
Since the CIA compound is definitely a no-go zone for ANSF, they
weren’t involved…at all. In fact, Afghan officials made that very clear
to reporters last night, that they had no idea what was going on, and
that reporters should ask ISAF. When ISAF was asked, they also said they
had no idea, and that folks should contact the ANSF. Since no one’s
involved, it has to be OGA. Still, great use of social media by NTM-A to


“The insurgency has been turned back… and Afghan National Security Forces are increasingly strong and capable.

Gotta love that social media.

All I can say is if that lone gunman was a locally engaged staff (know as LES or more kindly, as Foreign Service Nationals), that is a scary thought.  That means even the bunker is no longer safe.  It may have an impact on job creation in US diplomatic and consular posts in Afghanistan.

And if that lone gunman was a locally engaged staff but was not a guard, this would even be more troubling, as how did he managed to get a weapon inside an annex that is presumably well-guarded given its purported occupants.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought all the local hire staff in Afghanistan already get a polygraph as part of their employment package. Of course, it’s not like a poly is as good as the precogs of Minority Report.

More scary thoughts about the bunker, I’m going to have nightmares tonight. 






What the State Department Spokesman Said to NPR/Fresh Air …

In speculating about the fallout post publication of that book, I suggested that if somebody has already read the book, the Spokesman could say something like,
let’s see — “We know this books is coming out. We do not agree with Mr.
Van Buren’s views but his views are his own. We have nothing further to
say about this issue.”

NPR reported that Fresh Air contacted a spokesman for the State Department, who
declined to respond to Van Buren’s book except to say that the author’s
views are his own, and not necessarily those of the State Department.

If only the State Dept could figure out how to clone Ambassadors Crocker and Ford?

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly who previously worked as a staff adviser for Iran and Iraq in OSD/ISA/NESA at the Pentagon (where he was seconded to Iraq according to his bio), recently wrote a piece on Commentary Magazine praising two ambassadors while slamming two:

I certainly share Max Boot’s praise of Ryan Crocker​ and Robert Ford for the professionalism with which they distinguish themselves in a crisis. However, what really distinguishes how honorable is Crocker’s character—as opposed to so many of his Foreign Service colleagues—is how he distinguished himself outside the halls of the Foreign Service.
In recent days, for example, Mark Parris, ambassador to Turkey between 1997 and 2000 and long a cheerleader for the ruling AKP government, has just become the non-executive director of a Turkish-British company with tens of millions of dollars in Iraqi Kurdish oil interests, a position he could not attain had he not remained in the Turkish government’s good graces. Marc Grossman, pressed into service post-retirement to fill Richard Holbrooke’s shoes, had also profited from contacts with Turkey’s ruling party during his retirement when he began to work with Ilhas Holding. Likewise, when Libyan rebels overran the intelligence ministry in Tripoli, they found recent minutes of a meeting between former Assistant Secretary of State David Welch and Qadhafi regime officials. Welch retired from the State Department​ to win Libya contracts for Bechtel. Welch’s behavior might be legal, but it is shameful.
But, since Ford is such a high-value asset in a Department which has so few, why not send Ford to a post where the United States could truly use his skill, like Turkey or Lebanon, both of which have ambassadors now who are particularly weak and who have not shown themselves to be effective?

Active links added above. Read in full here.

The US Ambassador to Turkey is career diplomat, Frank Ricciardone. The US Ambassador to Lebanon is 25-year veteran, Maura Connelly. I’m sure neither one would appreciate being called “particularly weak” in the lead up to the promotion sweeps.

Max Boot who was cited in this piece also writes, “If only the State Department could figure out how to clone them–or at least inspire more of their colleagues to imitate their sterling example.”

I don’t think innovation at the State Department actually includes reproductive human cloning at this time. But when they figure out how, there will be a background briefing with senior administrative officials, I’m sure of it.

About Ambassador Ford, Josh Rogin of The Cable reported last week about the GOP’s new-found love for our Ambassador to Syria.

The State Department senses that the tide is turning on the Ford nomination as well, and is pushing Ford out to the media this week. He conducted on-the-record interviews with The Daily Caller¸ the Huffington Post¸ and with your humble Cable guy.

In a phone call with The Cable, Ford laid out the reasons he believes that he should be allowed to stay in Damascus.

“When an ambassador makes a statement in a country that’s critical of that country’s government, when that government visits an opposition or a site where a protest is taking place, the statement is much more powerful — and the impact and the attention it gets is much more powerful if it’s an ambassador rather than a low-level diplomat,” Ford said.

Will Congress find new love too for stuck-on you Ambassadors Ricciardone (Turkey), Bryza (Azerbaijan) and Eisen (Czech Republic) whose nominations have all been filed in the back folder since forever. I think their recess appointments will expire in December.