Fe­male Afghan of­fi­cer kills U.S. civil­ian

Vic­tim re­port­edly shot in head at close range.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Jawad Sukhan­yar and Rod Nord­land

KABUL, AfgHANiSTAN — A fe­male po­lice sergeant shot and killed a U.S. civil­ian ad­viser at po­lice head­quar­ters in Kabul on Mon­day, Afghan po­lice of­fi­cials said, break­ing a rel­a­tive lull in the so-called in­sider killings that have strained the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Amer­i­cans and Afghans here.

The Amer­i­can vic­tim was iden­ti­fied as Joseph Grif­fin, 49, of Mans­field, Ga., who had worked for Dyn­Corp In­ter­na­tional as a po­lice trainer since July 2011, ac­cord­ing to a Dyn­Corp spokes­woman.

Afghan of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied the shoot­ing sus­pect as a woman named Nar­gis, a 33-year-old sergeant in the na­tional po­lice force who worked in the In­te­rior Min­istry’s le­gal and gen­der equal­ity

de­part­ment, and whose hus­band is also a mem­ber of the po­lice force.

A per­son at Kabul po­lice head­quar­ters, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to re­lease in­for­ma­tion, said the at­tacker had shot the U.S. ad­viser in the head at close range with a pis­tol and then was im­me­di­ately ar­rested by other Afghan po­lice of­fi­cers.

The per­son added that both U.S. and Afghan of­fi­cials were ques­tion­ing her, and he de­scribed her con­di­tion as be­ing dis­traught.

Po­lice said they did not be­lieve the at­tack was re­lated to ter­ror­ism and that the sus­pect had no known con­nec­tions with in­sur­gents.

The Afghan news sta­tion TOLO cited Afghan of­fi­cials as say­ing that the woman, who had crossed mul­ti­ple po­lice check­points be­fore she fired her gun, had grad­u­ated from the na­tional po­lice academy in 2008, in one of its first fe­male classes.

The ef­fort to re­cruit and train fe­male po­lice of­fi­cers has been fraught with dif­fi­culty. EUPOL, the Euro­pean po­lice or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­tive in po­lice train­ing here, said there are only 380 fe­male po­lice of­fi­cers in Kabul, and even fewer in the prov­inces, de­spite a goal by the In­te­rior Min­istry of re­cruit­ing 5,000 by the end of 2014.

In­sider at­tacks, in which mem­bers of the Afghan se­cu­rity ser­vices have turned against their for­eign al­lies, have greatly in­creased in the past year, with 61 U.S. and other coali­tion mem­bers killed, not in­clud­ing the episode Mon­day, com­pared with 35 deaths the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to NATO fig­ures.

Mon­day’s at­tack — the first in­sider at­tack known to be com­mit­ted by a woman — came af­ter a lull in in­sider shoot­ings af­ter the mil­i­tary in­sti­tuted a se­ries of pre­cau­tions meant to re­duce them.

The most re­cent episode was on Nov. 11, when a Bri­tish sol­dier was killed in Hel­mand province.

U.S. and Afghan of­fi­cials have been strug­gling to fig­ure out how large a fac­tor Tal­iban in­fil­tra­tion or co­er­cion has been in such at­tacks.

Although in­sur­gent con­tact has been clear in some cases, many of the at­tacks have seemed to come out of per­sonal an­i­mos­ity or out­rage, at­trib­uted to cul­ture clash or grow­ing Afghan anger at what they see as an un­wel­come oc­cu­pa­tion by the United States and its al­lies.

“The loss of any team mem­ber is tragic, but to have this hap­pen over the hol­i­days makes it seem all the more un­fair,” Steven Gaffney, the chair­man of Dyn­Corp, said in a state­ment.

The com­pany also re­leased a state­ment at­trib­uted to the vic­tim’s wife, Ren­nae Grif­fin.

“My hus­band was a thought­ful, kind, gen­er­ous and lov­ing man who was self­less in all his ac­tions and deeds,” it said.

In other vi­o­lence Mon­day, a coali­tion mem­ber was killed in an in­sur­gent at­tack in east­ern Afghanistan, and an Afghan Lo­cal Po­lice com­man­der killed five fel­low of­fi­cers at a check­point in Jowz­jan province in the north.

Dur Mo­ham­mad, the com­man­der at the check­point, 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. Ghairat did not of­fer a mo­tive but said Mo­ham­mad had con­nec­tions with the Tal­iban in the area.

The Afghan Lo­cal Po­lice pro­gram, which seeks to bring armed el­e­ments — in­clud­ing some former in­sur­gents — into government ser­vice, has drawn crit­i­cism be­cause of a se­ries of episodes in which the armed el­e­ments have switched al­le­giances, some­times re­peat­edly.

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