KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan policewoman shot and killed an American adviser outside the police headquarters here on Monday, the latest in a rising tide of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies, senior Afghan officials said.
The woman, identified as Afghan police Sgt. Nargas, entered a strategic compound in the heart of the capital and shot the civilian adviser with a pistol as he came out of a small shop with articles he had just bought, Kabul Gov. Abdul Jabar Taqwa told The Associated Press.
Earlier, she asked bystanders where the governor’s office was located, the governor said. Like many Afghans, the policewoman uses only one name.
The policewoman was taken into Afghan custody shortly after the attack, but Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said that she refused to answer questions after hours of interrogation aimed at determining her motives for the killing.
Mr. Sediqi said the assailant shot only once, striking the American in the side of the chest. He died either on the way or just upon arrival at a hospital, the spokesman added, describing her act as a “huge crime.”
A NATO command spokesman, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Lester T. Carroll, said the slain adviser was a contractor whose identity wasn’t immediately released.
“We can confirm that a civilian police adviser was shot and killed this morning by a suspected member of the Afghan uniformed police,” Col. Carroll said.
The attack occurred outside the police headquarters in a walled, highly secure compound that also houses the governor’s office, courts and a prison. Kabul police Deputy Chief Mohammad Daoud Amin said an investigation was under way.
Nargas, a mother of four, worked with a human rights department of the police for two years and earlier was a refugee in Pakistan and Iran, Deputy Chief Amin said.
She could enter the compound armed because as a police officer she was licensed to carry a pistol, the police official said. Deputy Chief Amin did not know whether the killer and victim were acquainted.
“Her background is very clean. We don’t see that she had any connection with armed insurgent groups,” Mr. Sediqi said. He added that she aroused no suspicion because she frequently went back and forth on business between the compound and the Interior Ministry, where she worked.
Canadian Brig. Gen. John C. Madower, a command spokesman in Kabul, called the incident “a very sad occasion” and said his “prayers are with the loved ones of the deceased.”
The killing came just hours after an Afghan policeman shot five of his colleagues at a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan late Monday. The attacker then stole his colleague’s weapons and fled to join the Taliban, said the deputy provincial governor in Jawzjan province, Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani.
More than 60 international allies, including troops and civilian advisers, have been killed by Afghan soldiers or police this year, and a number of other insider attacks, as they are known, are still under investigations. NATO forces, due to mostly withdraw from the country by 2014, have sped up efforts to train and advise Afghan military and police units before the pullout.