On This Day – Adolph Dubs Kidnapped and Killed in Kabul by Muslim Extremists


On this day in 1979, just months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Dubs, as the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped on his way from his residence to the United States embassy in the early morning. After his driver was threatened with a gun, he was forced to drive Dubs to the Kabul Hotel in downtown Kabul, where he was kept in Room 117 on the first floor.

At the hotel, the abductors allegedly demanded that the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan released one or more religious or political prisoners, but the Americans warned to wait and hold fire in order to not endanger Dubs’ life, but the Afghan police disregarded these pleas to negotiate and, on the advice of Soviet officers, attacked. Afghan police then stormed room 117 with heavy automatic gunfire. After a short, intense fight, estimated to have lasted less than a minute, Dubs was found slumped in a chair, killed by shots to the head.

The death of Dubs was listed as a Significant Terrorist Incident by the State Department.