Atlanta man among dead in Kabul attack
ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta man was among the eight people killed in an attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, friends and his company said Tuesday.
Thor Hesla, 45, worked for BearingPoint Management & Technology Consultants, which had a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development to help Afghanistan rebuild, a company spokesman said.
The death toll in Monday’s bombing and shooting attack on the Serena Hotel rose to eight. Authorities in Kabul said an American, a Norwegian journalist and a Filipina who died of her wounds Tuesday were among those killed.
The country’s intelligence chief linked the attack on the high-profile property in Kabul frequented by Westerners to a Pakistani militant. Afghan officials arrested four people, and said they included one of the three attackers, who was disguised in a police uniform.
for the assault.
Hesla was a graduate of Emory University and spent years working as a political consultant and organizer, including with the 1996 Olympics and the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.
He also worked for former President Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign as well as on the presidential campaigns of Vice President Al Gore in 2000 and Sen. Bill Bradley.
“He was a big player,” said former state Rep. Doug Teper, a friend since their days at Briarcliff High School.
A longtime family friend, Margaret Hylton Jones, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Hesla was aware of the danger of Afghanistan, his most recent assignment after stints in Kosovo, South Africa and Kazakhstan.
Jones said Hesla “put his affairs in order” before leaving for the assignment that began Nov. 1. He had updated his will. He took his father, a retired Emory professor, on a trip to New York. And he spent time with his 12-year-old niece and 10-year-old nephew.
He wrote friends that he lived and traveled with armed body guards and was limited to only certain restaurants and bars because of the danger. He said while Kabul was safer than Baghdad, “the situation is deteriorating.”
A memorial was planned for Thursday at St. Bartholomew’s Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and another service will be held later in Washington, once Hesla’s body is returned from Afghanistan.
Published in The Messenger 1.17.08