Senior Army NCO Killed in Afghanistan Suicide Blast, Brigade Commander Is Wounded
(WASHINGTON) — A suicide bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan has killed or wounded the senior leaders of the Army’s 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
The attack Wednesday killed four Americans, three U.S. service members and a USAID foreign service officer. Among the dead was the brigade’s command sergeant major, the brigade’s senior enlisted non-commissioned officer.
In addition, defense officials told ABC News, the colonel in charge of the 4,000-man brigade was seriously wounded in the attack.
The deadly attack took place Wednesday when two suicide bombers detonated suicide vests as a team of American military and civilian officials approached the provincial council’s office in Sarkowi in Kunar Province.
Killed in the attack was Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, 45, of Laramie, Wyo., the brigade’s senior enlisted soldier.
Defense officials told ABC News that Col. James Mingus, the 4th Brigade’s commander, was also seriously wounded in the blast.
The attack was a significant strike at the leadership of the brigade tasked with providing security in three provinces that border Pakistan. Based in Fort Carson, Colo., the brigade arrived in Afghanistan this past April.
Also killed in the blast were Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, 35 of West Point, N.Y., and Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, 38, of Conyers, Ga.
Maj. Kennedy was serving on Col. Mingus’ staff and Maj. Gray was an air liaison officer and flight commander attached to the brigade.
The explosion also killed American USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah. Another American foreign service officer and an Afghan civilian were also injured in the attack.
In a statement released Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Abdelfattah’s work in eastern Afghanistan over the last year as, “critical to our efforts to support Afghanistan’s political, economic and security transitions, and [it] was an example of the highest standards of service.”
She said he was so committed to his mission that he had volunteered to serve a second year-long tour in Afghanistan.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio