22nd Mar 2018

EU diplomats in Afghanistan rattled by shooting

  • Usackas: the former Lithuanian foreign minister took up the EU post in February 2010 (Photo:

The EU's ambassador to Afghanistan has said his staff are shocked after a bullet hit the window of his office earlier this week.

Recalling the incident on Tuesday (12 April), Vygaudas Usackas told EUobserver from Kabul on Thursday: "I was in my office talking on the phone during a meeting with staff when we heard some kind of strange noise. The moment I finished my conversation, I saw the hole in the window. My staff were shocked. It didn't go through because of the bullet-proof glass, but we quickly got everyone out of this part of the building."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added: "I'm not scared. But I'm glad we had the bullet-proof glass or we might not be talking right now."

He noted that the incident is the first of its kind in the EU compound, operated by around 140 staff and home to some 40 EU diplomats and officials.

Usackas said the shooting comes just a few days after a massacre at a UN compound in Mazar el-Sharif, which already alarmed his personnel. A mob last Friday broke into the UN camp and killed seven people after a US cleric in Florida publicly burned the Koran.

"My first concern is my staff. Some of them took it [the EU shooting incident] very emotionally, very sensitively. I think they're doing pretty well, but after Mazar el-Sharif the atmosphere is not good. I have postponed a trip to the Tajikistan border to take care of the investigation and just to try to calm things down."

Usackas noted that the Kabul posting has already seen his life and the lives of colleagues put at risk once before.

The former Lithuanian foreign minister was almost hit by a Taliban rocket while attending a tribal gathering or 'jirga' in Kabul last May. "One rocket landed maybe 70 metres from where I was sitting. Here in Afghanistan you have to go to some events where you know that you might be risk," he said.

A preliminary forensic study of the bullet-hole on Tuesday indicates that it was not a sniper rifle but the bullet has not been found.

The prevailing theory is that fighting between security forces of two rival warlords 400 metres away from the EU compound saw a bullet go astray and hit the window by chance.

The EU generally has a more neutral reputation than Nato, the US or the UN in Afghanistan.

But it is expanding its role from police-training and development aid to political tasks, such as oversight of recent parliamentary elections, with investigators not ruling out a deliberate attack.

The EU compound in Kabul is considered one of the safest places in the city, but EU staff are told to come without their families.


EU men with guns: A comedy of errors

The EU foreign service just did a U-turn on a €50mn tender for bodyguards in Kabul, with leaked documents posing questions how a British firm with a frightening track record won it in the first place.

EU summit takes hard look at Russia

EU leaders will discuss Russian security threats in the wake of the UK attack, but will not adopt new sanctions at Thursday's summit.


Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea

Together with many other partners, including the United States, Canada and Norway, the European Union has implemented a policy of non-recognition and sanctions regimes, targeting people and entities that have promoted Russia's illegal annexation.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions