Adolph Dubs
Adolph "Spike" Dubs was the United States Ambassador to Afghanistan
United States Ambassador to Afghanistan
The United States Ambassador to Afghanistan is the official representative of the President of the United States to the head of state of Afghanistan....

 from May 13, 1978 until his death in 1979. He was killed in an exchange of fire after a kidnapping attempt.


Dubs was born in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 and graduated from Beloit College
Beloit College
Beloit College is a liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin, USA. It is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and has an enrollment of roughly 1,300 undergraduate students. Beloit is the oldest continuously operated college in Wisconsin, and has the oldest building of any college...

 in 1942 with a degree in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. He served in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Later, he completed graduate studies at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 and foreign service studies at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 and Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...


He subsequently entered the United States Foreign Service
United States Foreign Service
The United States Foreign Service is a component of the United States federal government under the aegis of the United States Department of State. It consists of approximately 11,500 professionals carrying out the foreign policy of the United States and aiding U.S...

 as a career diplomat, and his postings included Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

, Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. He became a noted Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 expert, and in 1973-74 he served as ranking charge d'affaires
Chargé d'affaires
In diplomacy, chargé d’affaires , often shortened to simply chargé, is the title of two classes of diplomatic agents who head a diplomatic mission, either on a temporary basis or when no more senior diplomat has been accredited.-Chargés d’affaires:Chargés d’affaires , who were...

 at the United States Embassy in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...


Kidnapping and death

In 1978 Dubs was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 following a coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 which brought the Soviet-aligned Khalq
Khalq was a faction of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Its historical leaders were Presidents Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin. It was also the name of the leftist newspaper produced by the same movement. It was supported by the USSR and was formed in 1965 when the PDPA was born...

 faction to power. On February 14, 1979, he was kidnapped by four armed militants belonging to the Setami Milli
Setami Milli
Setami Milli was a political movement in Afghanistan, led by Tahir Badakhshi. The organization was affiliated with the Non-Aligned Movement, and was opposed by both the Afghan monarchy and by the leftist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan.On February 14, 1979, the United States Ambassador...

 party posing as police. The kidnappers demanded the release of Badruddin Bahes, the imprisoned leader of their party. The government of Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin
Hafizullah Amin was the second President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan....

 denied holding Bahes, and refused categorically to negotiate with the militants, in spite of the US embassy's demands. Dubs was held in Room 117 of the Kabul Hotel (now called Kabul Serena Hotel
Serena Hotel
-Overview:The Serena Hotels Group is one of 96 companies that makes up the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development , the for-profit arm of the Aga Khan Development Network . The Group trades under the name Tourism Promotion Services . The company is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange , where it...

). Afghan security forces and Russian advisers swarmed the hallway and surrounding rooftops, but negotiations stalled. Shortly after 12:30 p.m., an exchange of gunfire started between the terrorists and the Afghan security forces, and the ambassador was killed. Afterwards the U.S. government formally expressed to Moscow its disapproval of the assault by the security forces.

Ambassador Dubs was not replaced by the US government and the embassy was finally closed in 1989 as security in Kabul deteriorated. The position of US ambassador in Afghanistan was not filled until 2002.

The death of ambassador Dubs is currently considered a "Significant Terrorist Incident" by the State Department.

Documents released from the Soviet KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 archives by Vasily Mitrokhin in the 1990s showed that the Afghan government clearly authorized the assault despite forceful demands for peaceful negotiations by the U.S., and that the KGB adviser on scene, Sergei Batrukihn, may have recommended the assault, as well as the execution of a kidnapper before U.S. experts could interrogate him. Other questions remain unanswered.

Dubs is buried in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

. He is memorialized by the American Foreign Service Association with a plaque in the Truman Building in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution.... and by a memorial in Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...


Camp Dubs, named after Adolph Dubs, is a US camp in Darulaman in southwest Kabul.

External links

  • Adolph Dubs, Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy, Foreign Service Officer at unofficial Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

     website, written by Bruce Byers, USIS
    USIS may refer to:* United States Information Service, the overseas name for the United States Information Agency* United States Immigration Service, a name sometimes used in the past, possibly both formally and informally at different times, to refer to at least one of the many U.S. federal...

     Press Attaché in Afghanistan under Dubs
  • The Last Ambassador to Afghanistan, Beloit College magazine, 2002
  • Death Behind a Keyhole: Protests over a perverse tragedy in Afghanistan - TIME
    Time (magazine)
    Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

  • Adolph Dubs
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