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Afghanistan: Policewoman who killed American contractor an Iranian

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, 7:28 p.m.

KABUL, Afghanistan — The policewoman who killed an American contractor in Kabul is a native Iranian who came to Afghanistan and displayed “unstable behavior” but no known links to militants, an Interior Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

The policewoman, identified as Sgt. Nargas, shot 49-year-old Joseph Griffin of Mansfield, Ga., on Monday in the first such shooting by a woman in a spate of insider attacks by Afghans against their foreign allies. Nargas walked into a heavily guarded compound in the heart of Kabul, confronted Griffin and gunned him down.

The U.S.-based security firm DynCorp International said on its website that Griffin was an American military veteran who had worked with U.S. law enforcement agencies. In Kabul, he was under contract to the NATO military command to advise the Afghan police force.

Insider killings have eroded the trust between the foreign contingent and the Afghan government, just a year before most NATO troops are set to withdraw and turn security responsibility over to local forces.

The ministry spokesman, Sediq Sediqi, told a news conference that Nargas, who uses one name as is traditional in Afghanistan, was born in Tehran, where she married an Afghan. She moved to the country 10 years ago when her husband obtained fake documents enabling her to live and work there.

A mother of four in her early 30s, she joined the police five years ago and had a clean record, he said. Sediqi produced an Iranian passport, which he said was found in her home.

“Her mental condition is not good,” he said, describing her behavior as “unstable.” He said that after she attended a recent training course in Egypt, a “foreign government” — a clear reference to Egypt — informed Afghan authorities that she did not appear to be “normal.”

On Monday, senior Afghan officials said the policewoman was licensed to carry the weapon into the compound and was well-known there. On Tuesday, however, the chief investigator, Gen. Mohammad Zahir, told reporters that she was not authorized to carry weapons into the compound but managed to pass through security checks with a hidden pistol.

There have been 60 insider attacks this year against foreign military and civilian personnel, compared with 21 in 2011.

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