Suicide attack kills USAID official in Afghanistan

    An information booth at a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded agricultural fair in Afghanistan. A foreign service officer working for the aid agency has been killed in an attack carried out by suicide bombers in Kunar Province. Photo by: Joseph Swafford / isafmedia / CC BY

    Insecurity remains a pressing issue in Afghanistan, where a suicide attack again took lives Wednesday (Aug. 8), including a seasoned development professional.

    Ragaei Abdelfattah, a foreign service officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, was killed in Kunar province, along with three NATO soldiers and an Afghan civilian. The attack was reportedly carried out by two vested bombers near the provincial council’s office, where soldiers were on patrol.

    A State Department foreign service officer was also injured in the attack.

    The incident comes days after Taliban insurgents attacked government buildings and outposts in the province, where the security transition seems to be “happening more gradually,” according to The New York Times.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah condemn the attack. The incident is a “testament to the deep commitment and sacrifice of our dedicated staff who serve in conflict countries like Afghanistan,” Shah said in a statement Thursday (Aug. 9).

    Ragaei’s work in Afghanistan included helping establish new schools and health clinics as well as bringing electricity to Kunar and Nangarhar provinces. He had just volunteered for a second year in Afghanistan.

    “Though we are shocked and saddened by this loss … our efforts will continue,” Clinton said in a statement, adding it is a “reminder of our shared mission and shared sacrifice.”

    A total of 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed from January to June this year, according to a report from the United Nations in Kabul. While the figures are lower compared with the previous corresponding period — when 1,510 civilians were killed — these gains are “fragile” and “do not reflect a move toward a peaceful society,” Nicholas Haysom, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, told The New York Times.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.