Afghan Accident Kills CIA Agent

USA Soldiers in Afghanistan, Map, RKF
One CIA officer was killed and two others were injured in a training accident in eastern Afghanistan, agency officials said.

The officer, Helge Boes, was killed Wednesday when a grenade detonated prematurely during a live-fire exercise, CIA officials said in a statement issued Thursday evening.

The injuries to the two other officers were not believed to be life-threatening, although one was wounded seriously. Officials did not identify the officers.

The training was in preparation for an unspecified intelligence collection operation, agency officials said.

Boes, 32, who lived in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, was an operations officer assigned to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, the agency said.

He is the second CIA officer to die in the line of duty in Afghanistan. The first, paramilitary officer Johnny Micheal Spann, was killed during an uprising of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners in northern Afghanistan in Nov. 25, 2001.

CIA officials said they could publicly acknowledge Boes' identity after they determined its release would not compromise any intelligence operations. His family also agreed to the release.

In a statement, CIA Director George Tenet called Boes' life "one of courage and sacrifice."

"He was no stranger to Afghanistan and its dangers," Tenet said. "He died doing what he loved."

He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his parents, Roderich and Monika Boes, of Germany. He was a graduate of Georgia State and Harvard University Law School, and he joined the CIA in January 2001 after working as an attorney in private practice.

Tenet said Boes "found the call of public service to be irresistible."

"He believed deeply in our mission of defending freedom," he said. "The work he did, both at headquarters and in the field, had its aim the defeat of terror - a ruthless, vicious enemy of liberty and decency."

Boes is the 80th CIA officer to die in the line of duty since the intelligence agency's creation, officials said. The names of many of those remain classified. Tenet announced his death to CIA headquarters in McLean, Va., on Thursday.

U.S. and Afghan forces continue to hunt al Qaeda, Taliban and other violent groups that remain in Afghanistan.

On Jan. 30, four U.S. soldiers were killed aboard an Army UH-60 helicopter that crashed near the Bagram air base. An American official said the helicopter and its crew were on a routine training mission and the crash appeared to be an accident.


Sixteen Americans have been killed in combat or hostile situations:

  • Dec. 21, 2002: Army Sgt. Steven Checo, 22, of New York City, was shot and killed in a gunfight while on a nighttime operation in the eastern province of Paktika, near the border of Pakistan.
  • Aug. 7: Sgt. 1st Class Christopher James Speer, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., died of wounds received July 27 in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan. Four other American soldiers were injured.
  • May 19: Sgt. Gene Vance Jr., U.S. Special Forces soldier, was killed while on patrol in eastern Afghanistan after his unit came under heavy fire.
  • March 28: Chief Petty Officer Matthew J. Bourgeois, 35, of Tallahassee, Fla., was killed when he stepped on a land mine during a training mission near Kandahar. Another serviceman was wounded.
  • March 4: Seven American soldiers were killed and 11 were wounded when two helicopters took enemy fire in the largest allied air and ground offensive of the war. Those killed: (Army) Sgt. Bradley S. Crose, 27, of Orange Park, Fla.; Sgt. Philip J. Svitak, 31, of Joplin, Mo.; Spc. Marc A. Anderson, 30, of Brandon, Fla.; Pfc. Matthew A. Commons, 21, of Boulder City, Nev.; (Navy) Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, 32, of Woodland, Calif.; (Air Force) Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, 36, of Waco, Texas; Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham, 26, of Camarillo, Calif.
  • Jan. 4, 2002: Army Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, 31, of San Antonio, was killed in the vicinity of Khost, near the Pakistan border. First U.S. soldier killed by the enemy.
  • Dec. 5: Staff Sgt. Brian "Cody" Prosser, 28, Frazier Park, Calif.; Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39, Watauga, Tenn.; and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Petithory, 32, Cheshire, Mass., were killed in Afghanistan when a U.S. bomb missed its target.
  • Nov. 25, 2001: CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann, 32, of Winfield, Ala., was killed by rioting prisoners at Mazar-e-Sharif. First American killed in action in Afghanistan.

    Twenty-nine Americans have died in military aircraft crashes or while on other duty in support of the war in Afghanistan:

  • Feb. 5: CIA officer Helge Boes, 32, who lived in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, was killed in a training accident in eastern Afghanistan when a grenade detonated prematurely during a live-fire exercise. Two other CIA officers were injured.
  • Jan. 30, 2003: Four were killed aboard an Army UH-60 helicopter that crashed near the Bagram air base. An American official said the helicopter and its crew were on a routine training mission and the crash appeared to be an accident.
  • June 12, 2002: Three were killed when their Air Force MC-130H transport plane crashed on takeoff in Eastern Afghanistan. Seven others injured.
  • April 15: Staff Sgt. Brian T. Craig, 27, of Houston; Staff Sgt. Justin J. Galewski, 28, of Olathe, Kan.; Sgt. Jamie O. Maugans, 27, of Derby, Kan.; and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel A. Romero, 30, of Longmont, Colo., all died in Kandahar when rockets they were trying to destroy accidentally blew up.
  • March 2: Army Chief Warrant Officer Stanley L. Harriman, 34, a native of Nixa, Mo., was killed mistakenly by friendly fire from an Air Force AC-130 gunship. U.S. authorities originally said he had been killed by enemy mortar fire. Also, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christopher M. Blaschum, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va., died after ejecting from his F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, which crashed during a training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Feb. 13: Army Spc. Jason A. Disney, 21, of Fallon, Nev., was killed shortly after a piece of heavy equipment fell on him at Bagram air base, 40 miles north of Kabul.
  • Jan. 20: Staff Sgt. Walter F. Cohee III, 26, of Wicomico, Md., and Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan, 24, of Mendocino, Calif., both Marines, were killed when their CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed while on a resupply mission. Five other Marines injured.
  • Jan. 9: Capt. Matthew W. Bancroft, 29, of Redding, Calif.; Capt. Daniel G. McCollum, 29, of Irmo, S.C.; Gunnery Sgt. Stephen L. Bryson, 36, of Montgomery, Ala.; Staff Sgt. Scott N. Germosen, 37, of New York; Sgt. Nathan P. Hays, 21, of Wilbur, Wash.; Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Bertrand, 23, of Coos Bay, Ore.; and Sgt. Jeannette L. Winters, 25, of Gary, Ind., all Marines, were killed in the crash of a tanker plane into a mountain in Pakistan.
  • Nov. 29, 2001: Pvt. Giovany Maria, 19, of New York, was shot to death in Uzbekistan, where about 1,000 members of the Army's 10th Mountain Division were stationed. Officials say his death is under investigation, not result of enemy action.
  • Nov. 7: Sailor Bryant L. Davis, 20, of Chicago, a fireman apprentice, was declared dead after he fell overboard from an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea.
  • Oct. 19: Army Rangers Pfc. Kristofor Stonesifer, 28, of Doylestown, Pa., and Spc. Jonn J. Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyo., were killed in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter in Pakistan.
  • Oct. 10: Air Force Master Sgt. Evander Earl Andrews, 36, of Solon, Maine, was killed in a heavy-equipment accident in the northern Arabian peninsula. The first death in the campaign.