Mary Ann Dubs stll does not know why her husband was kidnaped in the first place as he was riding along in his limousine on a Kabul, Afghanistan, street the morning of Feb. 14, 1979. She has resolved it all in her mind, she says, "as well as I can."
Why, then, is the widow of the United States' well-respected former ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph (Spike) Dubs, 58 -- killed in a Kabul hotel room in a crossfire between the Afghan terrorists holding him and Afghan police who stormed the room firing guns -- making phone calls and raising money for the 1 million Afghan refugees who fled to Pakistan after the December Soviet invasion?
She smiled, seated neatly in a chair outside the Grand Ballroom of McLean Gardens last night, as Afghan music wafted out, a reminder that this was a fund-raiser dinner for the Afghan Relief Committee. She is a prominent member. "I don't have hatred for the Afghan people," said Mary Ann Dubs, 35 and the editor of the Senate Daily Digest.
Some Afghans coming here -- people she does not even know -- call her to tell her they are sorry about what happened to her husband.
"Spike felt we were a giving country," said Mary Ann Dubs. "I felt that after the events, this was the kind of thing he would want continued."
She is, her colleagues say, quite good at making contacts. She introduced herself to Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N. J.) once after he made a speech on the Senate floor about Afghanistan. He was there last night.
But the name helps. "The name is known," she said soberly. "There's no doubt about it. People have not forgotten Spike."
She glided through last night's dinner as if she were a diplomat herself. And so it made sense when Bob Neumann, another former ambassador to Afghanistan ("I left after the first coup -- one coup to a person"), looked up from his dinner plate of Afghan rice and chicken to account for all the former Afghan ambassadors: "I'm here. Ambassador Byroade is here. Ambassador Theodore Elliott is in Massachusetts. Ambassador John Shreeves is in Pennsylvania. And Ambassador Dubs is dead. Mary Ann Dubs is sitting over there, though. So that makes . . . two and a half ambassadors?"
Former ambassadors to Afghanistan were quite evident. "I was there from '63 to '68," said Henry Byroade, who still keeps tents from his Afghanistan days in his Potomac house.
"No, you were there in the '50s," corrected William McCulloch, head of the Washington chapter of the Afghan Relief Committee and a partner in McLean Gardens.
Byroade thought for a minute. "Oh, right," he said. "That was Burma."
The envoys went on at some length about the affection they still feel for the country. "I could set up a whole village," Byroade said of his tents. "I've got a sleeping tent, a dining-room tent. I sort of like the Afghan way of life."
Most who gathered last night in the name of a cause that the committee is having a terrible time raising money for were friends of the committee, which is based in New York. "Alas, the financial picture is all too simple -- there isn't enough," said John Train, the New York financial whiz of the committee. He got his cousin, Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.), involved.
Our guest among the 100 or so was Sultan Ghazi, once head of civil aviation and tourism in Afghanistan. He went vacationing in Europe in April 1978, flew back to Iran, got off the plane, heard about the coup (that is, the one at the time) and didn't leave Iran for a year. Now he's here. "He's looking for a job," said one sympathetic guest and friend.
And some had little previous connection with Afghanistan. Millard Arnolds, a former New York lawyer, now on the board of directors of the Afghan Relief Committee, is also the director of the South Africa Project for the Lawyers Committee. He will have spent close to $2,000 on donations for various refugee projects by the end of this year. "If I can use this to draw attention to the Africian refugee problem, that's important," he said. "African refugees are the forgotten ones -- because they are refugees of color. Afghanistan is an international tragedy. But in human terms, there is no greater tragedy than Africa."