x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Afghan policewoman kills US adviser

Policewoman shoots American adviser outside the police headquarters in Kabul in what is believed to be the first 'insider' attack by a woman.

KABUL // An Afghan policewoman shot and killed an American adviser outside the police headquarters in Kabul yesterday, in what is believed to be the first "insider" attack by a woman.

The woman, identified as Afghan police Sergeant Nargas, had entered a strategic compound in the capital and shot the adviser with a pistol as he came out of a small shop with items he had just bought, the Kabul governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, said.

The woman was arrested by Afghan police shortly after the attack.

Earlier, she had asked bystanders where the governor's office was located, the governor said. Similar to many Afghans, the policewoman uses only one name.

A Nato command spokesman, US air force Lieutenant Colonel Lester T Carroll, said the woman was arrested after the incident. The slain adviser was a contractor.

The attack occurred outside the police headquarters in a walled, highly secure compound which also houses the governor's office, courts and a prison.

"We can confirm that a civilian police adviser was shot and killed this morning by a suspected member of the Afghan uniformed police. The suspected shooter is in Afghan custody," Lt Col Carroll said.

A police officer at the scene said the shooting happened in a courtyard.

"I heard gunshots and than I saw the shooter - a woman wearing police uniform - running and firing into the air with her pistol," the officer said.

"I ran after her, jumped on her and put my gun to her head and told her not to move. She gave up and I arrested her and I took her weapon."

Nato is aiming to train 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014 as it transfers all security responsibilities to President Hamid Karzai's local forces.

The killing came just hours after an Afghan policeman shot five of his colleagues at a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan. 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 speeded up efforts to train and advise Afghan military and police units before the pullout.

The surge in insider attacks is throwing doubt on the capability of the Afghan security forces to take over from international troops and has further undermined public support for the 11-year war in Nato countries. It has also stoked suspicion among some Nato units of their Afghan counterparts, although others enjoy close working relations with Afghan military and police.

As such attacks mounted this year, US officials in Kabul and Washington insisted they were "isolated incidents" and withheld details. At least 63 coalition troops - mostly Americans - had been killed and more than 85 wounded in at least 46 insider attacks. That's an average of nearly one attack a week. In 2011, 21 insider attacks killed 35 coalition troops.

There have also been incidents of Taliban and other militants dressing in Afghan army and police uniforms to infiltrate Nato installations and attack foreigners.

In February, two US soldiers died from wounds received during an attack by an Afghan policeman at the interior ministry in Kabul. The incident forced Nato to temporarily pull out their advisers from a number of ministries and police units and revise procedures in dealing with Afghan counterparts.

The latest known insider attack took place on November 11 when a British soldier, Captain Walter Reid Barrie, was killed by an Afghan army soldier during a football match between British and Afghan soldiers in the southern province of Helmand.

More than 50 Afghan members of the government's security forces also have died this year in attacks by their own colleagues. Taliban militants claim such attacks reflect a growing popular opposition to both foreign military presence and the Kabul government.

* With additional reporting by Agence France-Presse