Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah both issued statements of condolence following the death of USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah, along with three ISAF soldiers, at the hands of a suicide bomber Thursday in Afghanistan.
"Ragaei's work over the last year was critical to our efforts to support Afghanistan's political, economic, and security transitions and was an example of the highest standards of service," Clinton said, noting that a State Department employee was also injured. "Over the last 15 months -- partnering with local officials -- he worked in eastern Afghanistan to help establish new schools and health clinics, and deliver electricity to the citizens of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces. Ragaei was so committed to our mission and to the people of Afghanistan that he volunteered to serve a second year."
"With the work of people such as Ragaei, the civilian surge we launched in Afghanistan in 2009 has made a tremendous impact, strengthening the capacity of the Afghan Government and laying a foundation for long-term sustainable development. Though we are shocked and saddened by this loss and will miss Ragaei, our efforts will continue," she said.
Shah said in his statement that the death is a testament to the commitment and sacrifice made by aid workers in conflict countries around the world. Ragaei had just begun a voluntary tour in Afghanistan, his second stint there. He had 15 years prior development experience and was working on his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech as well.
"Safety and security is an agency priority for USAID staff on the frontlines of poverty and conflict across the world," said Shah. "Ragaei gave his life in service to our country and our Agency's mission of providing help to those in need and advancing our national security. His sacrifice and the ongoing commitment of our staff in Afghanistan is building on progress from the past decade and helping to make both Afghanistan and America safer."
Ragaei is survived by his two teenage sons and wife.
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.