Afghan policewoman shoots US official at Kabul police headquarters

International
ROD NORDLAND & JAWAD SUKHANYAR

A female police officer shot and killed an American civilian adviser at Kabul police headquarters on Monday, according to Afghan police officials.

A spokesman for the American-led NATO force in Afghanistan, Col Thomas W Collins, confirmed that the attack took place but said the name and nationality of the victim were being withheld in line with military policy.

Colonel Collins described the attacker as "a suspected member of the Afghan Uniformed Police" and said the suspect was in Afghan custody.

Insider shootings, often referred to as green-on-blue attacks, have greatly increased in the past year, with 61 American and other coalition members killed, not counting the incident Monday, compared to 35 deaths the previous year, according to NATO figures.

This was the first such attack by a woman and came after a lull in insider shootings, after the military instituted a series of precautions meant to reduce them. The most recent incident was on November 11, when a British soldier was killed in Helmand Province.

A source at Kabul police headquarters, where the shooting occurred about 10 am, said the suspect was a woman named Nargis who worked in the Legal and Gender Equality Department of the Interior Ministry. She had previously been a regular police officer. The source said the attacker had used a pistol and shot the adviser, an engineer working in construction, in the head at close range.

He said the suspect was arrested at the scene by Afghan officers. Although the police source did not specify a motive, he said that it was not terrorist related and the suspect had no insurgent connections.

In unrelated incidents reported on Monday, a coalition member was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, while in northern Afghanistan, an Afghan Local Police commander killed five fellow police officers in a shooting incident at a checkpost.

The latter incident took place in Jowzhan Province, at the village of Turaghali Afghania. Dur Mohammad, commander at the checkpost, shot and killed five officers under his command, according to Gen Abdul Aziz Ghairat, the provincial police chief.

He said the commander fled after the shooting. General Ghairat did not offer a motive but noted that Mohammad had previously had connections with the Taliban in the area.

The Afghan Local Police programme, which seeks to bring armed elements including some former insurgents under government control, has been controversial because of a series of incidents in which they have changed sides, sometimes repeatedly.

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