Some details are emerging about the murder of two US Army officers in the Afghan Interior Ministry yesterday. CNN reports that the shooter, a police intelligence sergeant, attended a madrassa, or religious school, in Pakistan.
The man who shot two military officers Saturday at the interior ministry was a junior intelligence officer with ties to a Pakistani religious school, an Afghan counter-terrorism official said.
The gunman was identified as Abdul Saboor, an employee in the ministry’s intelligence department, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
“We believe it was 100% linked to the Quran burning because of the religious background of this junior officer. He spent two months in a Pakistani madrassa,” the official said.
The interior ministry confirmed that the gunman in Saturday’s shooting is believed to be one of its employees, whose “whereabouts are unknown.” Police “are making every effort to find him as soon as possible,” the ministry said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting Saturday. A Taliban spokesman gave the same first name for the shooter that the counter-terrorism official gave Sunday. But the official did not say whether the alleged gunman was affiliated with the Taliban.
The Guardian identified the Afghan shooter as an “ethnic Tajik” named Abdul Saboor Salangi, who was from the Salang district in Kunduz province. He shot the two US officers in the back of the head.
Abdul Saboor Salangi had been an ordinary policeman with a history of absenteeism who dropped out of the force and spent some time in Pakistan before returning to another police job with the ministry, said a security source who asked not to be named.
Police raided his home in a small village in the southern part of Salang district, where he lived with his mother, wife and two children.
“When the police first sent a delegation into his house for the investigation, they didn’t tell her why, so she thought her son had died and couldn’t stop crying,” said the Salang district governor, Abdulshakur Qudosi.
The two officers, reported to be a colonel and a major, were found dead in a room inside the interior ministry that was used only by foreigners and secured with combination locks. They had been shot in the back of the head, the Associated Press reported.
Afghan security personnel have killed four US soldiers and an Albanian soldier in separate attacks over the past week [see Threat Matrix report, Afghan troops kill 2 US Army officers in Kabul, for more details].