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CIA employees killed in Afghan suicide blast

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 31 December 2009

An attack on an army base kills seven America CIA employees in Afghanistan while four Canadian soldiers and a journalist die in a separate attack in the country. 

In the worst attack against US intelligence for almost 30 years the bomber blew himself up after managing to get inside their base in Khost province, near the Pakistan border, yerterday. The head of the CIA at the base was among the seven killed in the attack.

The suicide attack was one of the most ambitious of the war, highlighting the insurgency's reach and coordination at a time when violence has reached its highest levels since the overthrow of the Taliban regime by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001.

The Taliban claimed the attacker as a sympathiser from the Afghan army who detonated a vest of explosives at a meeting with CIA workers.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said seven CIA employees and one Afghan had been killed in the attack.

US President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 extra troops to tackle the Afghan conflict and Nato allies are contributing thousands more, but Obama has also said he hopes to start scaling back by 2011.

An Afghan army official said on Wednesday that Washington had pledged $16bn to train the army and air force.

Journalist killed

In a separate incident five Canadians, four soldiers and a journalist, were killed when their armoured vehicle was hit by a bomb in southern Kandahar province, the Canadian Defence Ministry said.

The blast struck the patrol as it was visiting community reconstruction projects.

The journalist killed was Michelle Lang, 34, on assignment for the Canwest News Service. She was on her first assignment in Afghanistan and had been in the country since 11 Dec. She is the third journalist to die in Afghanistan this year.

Two French journalists were also kidnapped by insurgents on Wednesday, when travelling in an area northeast of the capital with a driver and translator, a police official said. Media sources in Paris said they were working for French television.


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