KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan policewoman shot and killed an American civilian adviser Monday at the police headquarters in the capital, Afghan officials said, in what appeared to be the latest attack on a Westerner involving a uniformed Afghan security officer.
If confirmed as another so-called insider killing, the shooting would apparently mark the first time that a woman serving in Afghanistan’s security forces has turned a gun against a member of the Western coalition.
The city’s deputy police chief, Mohammed Daud Amin, identified the suspect as a three-year veteran of the force who serves in the gender rights department. He said it was not clear whether the shooting was intentional. The woman is in police custody and an investigation is under way, he said.
A statement from the U.S.-led NATO force confirmed the incident, saying one of its contracted civilian employees had died after being shot by “a woman wearing an Afghan police uniform.”
A U.S. security contractor, DynCorp International, identified the victim as one of its employees, Joseph Griffin, 49, of Mansfield, Ga. A veteran of the U.S. military, Griffin was working in support of the Interior Ministry and Afghan National Police, the company said.
A sharp increase this year in insider killings, known as green-on-blue attacks, has eroded trust between Afghan and NATO forces.
Excluding Monday’s shooting, Afghan soldiers and police officers – or insurgents wearing Afghan security force uniforms – have killed at least 61 foreign troops and contractors this year, according to NATO. In 2011, 35 coalition members were killed in such attacks.
The number of insider killings appeared to subside after the International Security Assistance Force briefly suspended many joint operations and revised its procedures for dealing with Afghan security force members several months ago. The last known attack occurred Nov. 11, when a British soldier was killed in the southern province of Helmand.
Amin identified the suspect in the latest incident as a police sergeant and mother of four named Nargis, who, like many Afghans, uses one name.
According to Kabul’s governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, the woman shot the adviser with a pistol outside a shop inside police headquarters. The headquarters are in a secured compound. Earlier, she had been asking for directions to the governor’s office, in the same area, but was told he was out.
Taqwa could not offer a motive for the shooting, saying he did not believe there was an argument between the woman and the adviser.
The statement from Griffin’s employer said he had served in various U.S.-based law enforcement positions as well as in support of the company’s global training and mentoring programs.
“Joe spent his career helping people all over the world, most recently working to help the Afghan people secure a better future,” said Steve Gaffney, chairman and chief executive of DynCorp International. “The loss of any team member is tragic, but to have this happen over the holidays makes it seem all the more unfair.”
The company also issued a statement from Griffin’s wife, Rennae. “My husband was a thoughtful, kind, generous and loving man who was selfless in all his actions and deeds,” she said. “To me he was perfect.”