Speaking at the White House, Pompeo told reporters it was with a “heavy heart” that he must confirm the news that Anil Raj, a Californian citizen, was killed during the weekend attack on a UN vehicle.
Five other civilians, including staff, were injured in the attack, which took place on Nov. 24, he said.
“We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victim following this tragic incident and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery for those who were injured,” Pompeo said.
Further details were not provided about Raj. However, Pompeo added: “Attacks targeting UN personnel working to help the Afghan people are unconscionable, and we condemn this act in the strongest possible terms.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Raj worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which aims to reduce poverty, inequality, and exclusion in around 170 countries.
The program’s administrator, Achim Steiner, told the publication that Raj had been traveling by car alongside two of his colleagues on the weekend when their vehicle was attacked.
“I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of our colleague who was killed and wish a speedy recovery to all those who were injured in this senseless attack,” he said.
Raj attended Saratoga High School in California. After graduating in 2002, he moved on to the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He graduated from there in 2009 with a Master’s in International Human Rights and a certificate in Humanitarian Assistance, the Chronicle reports.
Raj previously worked for the UN in Burma [also known as Myanmar] and South Sudan as well as Amnesty International before working in Afghanistan, where he managed payroll for Afghan security forces.
Frederick Mayer, dean of the Josef Korbel School, told the publication that Raj had lived an “extraordinarily impactful life and career.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Anil Raj, and send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues,” he said.
As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes just one week after The Global Terrorism Index published a report which ranked Afghanistan at the top of the list of countries most impacted by terrorism.
The study, based on the analysis of data by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), said the country’s Taliban was behind the majority of terror-related deaths in 2018, overtaking ISIS to become the deadliest terrorist group in the world.