- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan | U.S. soldiers shot and wounded a suspected female bomber as they took over custody of her from Afghan police, a police official said Friday.

Gen. Khan Mohammad Mujahid, police chief in central Ghazni province, said the woman and a 12-year-old boy were taken into Afghan custody Thursday evening in Ghazni city. The woman, believed to be Pakistani, was later taken by the American soldiers, he said.

Gen. Mujahid initially said the police argued with the Americans over giving up custody. But he later said there was no argument and that the woman lunged at one of the U.S. soldiers, provoking the gunshot.

U.S. military officials said they did not immediately have acomment.

The two suspects were carrying explosives and a map marking the governor’s residence and that of other provincial leaders, according to Sayid Ismail Jahangir, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Mr. Jahangir said the woman was 25, spoke Arabic, English and Urdu, and was from the Multan area in Pakistan. He said she had admitted to investigators that the two had planned to kill the governor or other officials.

In two brief interviews, Gen. Mujahid confirmed some of the details, and saidthe police had taken the two suspects to the anti-terrorism department when American soldiers arrived on the scene and demanded they get custody.

Gen. Mujahid first said the police insisted they be allowed to carry out their normal procedures and inform higher officials in the Afghan government. The argument escalated, and the U.S. soldiers opened fire, Gen. Mujahid said.

But in a second call, Gen. Mujahid said there had been no argument and that the woman had prompted the shooting by going for an American soldier’s gun.

The woman was wounded, and the soldiers took her to a nearby military base, Gen. Mujahid said.

Meanwhile, two French aid workers were abducted in the town of Nili in central Afghanistan after gunmen tied up guards and broke into the guest house where they were sleeping, humanitarian organizationAction Against Hunger said Friday, Reuters news agency reported from Paris.

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