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CIA-base bomber called triple agent

[ 2010-01-06 13:13]     字号 [] [] []  
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The suicide bomber who killed eight people at a US base in eastern Afghanistan last week was a triple agent brought to the outpost after offering information to catch a leading Al-Qaida aide.

The attack at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer said to have brought the bomber, a Jordanian doctor, to the spy agency outpost.

US news agencies, citing intelligence sources, identified the attacker as Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year-old doctor from the town of Zarqa, Jordan.

Balawi was arrested by Jordanian intelligence more than a year ago on suspicion of extremist sympathies, then apparently agreed to support the US in its fight against Al-Qaida.

Jordanian authorities believed Balawi had reformed and handed him over to the CIA so that he could infiltrate al-Qaida in Afghanistan. He was invited to the remote base on the restive border with Pakistan after offering urgent information to help locate Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, The Associated Press reported. Officials said he was not searched for bombs when he entered the base.

A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment.

The latest account of the attack contradicted a statement by the Taliban soon after the blast, which was said to have occurred as CIA officers began questioning Balawi at the base. A Taliban spokesman initially said the attacker was a sympathizer in the Afghan national army.

The attack killed four CIA officers, including the base's female chief, and three contract security guards.

Shortly after the attack, US President Barack Obama sent a letter of condolence to CIA employees, saying the spy agency has been tested "as never before" since the September 11 attacks. The letter, which was released to the White House press corps, was criticized for its open acknowledgement of the secretive CIA's role in the Afghanistan war.

The attack was the biggest loss of life for the CIA since the 1983 bombing of the agency's Beirut station, which killed 17 officers.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

CIA-base bomber called triple agent

About the broadcaster:

CIA-base bomber called triple agent

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.