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CIA group seeks donations for families

WASHINGTON -- CIA officers are asking people to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of the first American killed in the Afghan war by donating money to help the children of their fellow fallen.

Since the death in 2001 of CIA officer Mike Spann, 23 stars have been added to the wall at the CIA's Langley, Va., headquarters that honors CIA operatives lost. Many were killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The clandestine world rarely breaks its silence, especially when it comes to family, but the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation notes that about 56 children of those killed in the line of duty will need educational support over the next 17 years.

Since its inception in November 2001, the organization has provided financial support and awarded scholarships to three spouses and 47 children of CIA officers killed on duty, according to The Washington Post. This school year, the foundation is expected to award more than $500,000 to 28 students and two spouses.

Spann was in a small group of CIA paramilitary officers who went into Afghanistan just 16 days after the al-Qaida attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Less than two months later, the CIA along with Army's Green Berets and a massive bombing campaign helped Afghan militias drive out the ruling Taliban.

Spann was killed when hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners, guarded by just a handful of Afghans, tried to escape from a fortress jail in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.

He is survived by his wife, Shannon, who has since left the agency, and three children.

For information on making a contribution, to go ciamemorialfoundation.org/donate.php.

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