WASHINGTON – 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 Qaeda 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.