Afghan policewoman kills US military adviser inside Interior Ministry

An Afghan policewoman gunned down a US military adviser inside the Interior Ministry today. The insider, or green-on-blue, attack is the first in nearly six weeks, and the first recorded by a female member of the Afghan security forces.

The policewoman, who was identified as Nargis, is “assigned to the gender and equality department,” according to Pajhwok Afghan News.

“She fired one shot at the advisor, a construction engineer, in the head at close range,” according to the Afghan news agency. The policewoman’s motivation for shooting the civilian adviser is not know. She is currently in Afghan custody.

The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that a civilian contractor was killed in Kabul, but did not provide any details of the attack.

“A contracted civilian employee of the International Security Assistance Force died after being shot by a woman wearing an Afghan police uniform in Kabul, Afghanistan, today,” ISAF stated in a press release. “The incident is currently under investigation.”

According to TOLONews, the attacker, a married woman who lived for a time as a refugee in Iran and Pakistan, had recently returned from a government-sponsored trip to Egypt. During that trip, she disappeared for two days, later telling her superiors she had gotten lost. They had not mentioned the incident in their report on the trip. Her husband is a civilian employee of the Interior Ministry, TOLO reported.

Today’s attack is very similar to the shooting at the Interior Ministry on Feb. 25, 2012, when an Afghan policeman gunned down two US military officers inside the headquarters before escaping. The two officers were shot at close range; at least one was shot in the head.

There have been 43 insider attacks reported so far this year, resulting in the deaths of 61 ISAF military and civilian personnel (note: ISAF does not disclose data on all such attacks; ISAF has told The Long War Journal that the overall number of attacks is “classified”). Last year, there were 15 such attacks reported, and in 2010 there were 5. The green-on-blue attacks now account for more than 16 percent of ISAF’s casualties so far this year. Last year, such attacks accounted for 6 percent of ISAF’s casualties. In 2010, green-on-blue attacks made up just 2 percent of ISAF’s casualties. See LWJ report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data, for more information.

There have now been four green-on-blue attacks in the capital of Kabul, resulting in the deaths of 12 ISAF personnel, according to statistics maintained by The Long War Journal. Three of those attacks have taken place this year.

Today’s attack is the first since Nov. 11, when an Afghan soldier opened fire on British troops in the Nad Ali district in Helmand province. One British soldier was killed and one was wounded in the November attack; the Afghan shooter was wounded in return fire.

Insider attacks a key part of Taliban strategy

In October, Taliban emir Mullah Omar released an Eid al-Adha message that urged followers to “[i]increase Increase your efforts to expand the area of infiltration in the ranks of the enemy and to bring about better order and array in the work.” The statement continued: “We call on the Afghans who still stand with the stooge regime to turn to full-fledged cooperation with their Mujahid people like courageous persons in order to protect national interests and to complete independence of the country. Jihadic activities inside the circle of the State militias are the most effective stratagem. Its dimension will see further expansion, organization and efficiency if God willing.”

Omar had previously addressed the issue of green-on-blue attacks at length in a statement released on Aug. 16. Omar claimed that the Taliban “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year,” and urged government officials and security personnel to defect and join the Taliban as a matter of religious duty. He also noted that the Taliban have created the “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration” department, “with branches … now operational all over the country,” to encourage defections. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]

As insider attacks continue to spike, Coalition officials are starting to acknowledge that the Taliban are behind a larger proportion of the attacks, and ISAF has intensified its efforts against the perpetrators. Many of the attackers appear to come from the eastern Afghan provinces, a BBC reporter wrote in September, where Taliban influence is prevalent. And in early October, ISAF commanders admitted that attackers from Pakistan with links to the Taliban and its subgroup, the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, were significantly involved in the attacks, the Associated Press reported.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • mike merlo says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the murdered individual was involved in a transgression that crossed or superseded what is or isn’t acceptable by Afghan societal standards

  • Charu says:

    This is sad. In hindsight, her 2 day disappearance in Egypt is meaningful. But these things don’t generally happen without other signs of radicalization. Her associates and family must have known her state-of-mind and her inclination to Islamic fundamentalism a long time before. I hope that they can get her to talk. Sympathies and condolences to the family of the slain contractor.

  • Damon says:

    @ mike merlo
    Cold blooded murder is never justified regardless of whether a social faux paux had been committed.
    A single shot to the back of a head is a coward’s murder, not a brave defense of cultural values, as if there was such a thing.
    Other countries and religions are insulted on a daily basis in the rest of the world without such cowardly murders taking place… I wonder what that says about Afghanistan.

  • blert says:

    From this point forth, one would imagine that ISAF and associated contractors will be monitored by security cameras so that some non-speculative analysis can begin WRT to green-on-blue ‘tells.’
    As for the deceased being a transgressor party: that must be a line easily crossed, for it’s happening all over the place.
    There is a strong link indicating that those leaving Afghanistan are prone to return as murderers when they leave to enter islamist redoubts such as Pakistan and Egypt or Libya.
    [Benghazi means jihadi/warrior fort/ bastion/ redoubt.]
    Is it any wonder that islamists gravitate to Libya?
    The other issue here is the chronic back-stabbing nature of opfor tactics.
    Lest we forget, this was exactly the style of Western warfare right up through the Thirty-Years War. It featured all manner of feral fighting tactics.
    It was also the end of that line — for Europe. It was mutually resolved that no party would initiate, or provide succor to those that do, such dirty fighting.
    It’s the conflict that ‘invented’ the Lieutenant Colonel as a nominative rank.
    (You were a Colonel if you raised troops — on your dime — for the fight. It was expected that Colonels would lead their formation into battle — unless they deferred the honor to their, hired, Lieutenant — making him a Lieutenant Colonel.)
    This was the beginning of ‘regimented standards’ and all the rest that we take for granted in Western armies.
    It will harsh ones mellow to realize that in the 17th Century the only way to put feral warfare out of business was by way of total warfare to the point of annihilation. Formations that had gained a dirty reputation were actually hunted down like dogs — and not given any quarter. Whereas, other regiments — on the same side — would be given the ‘honors of war’ — and permitted to survive defeat.
    A bit, a hint, of this legacy is encapsulated in the film The Last of the Mohicans, (1992) when Col. Munro accepts France’s terms of surrender. 150 years earlier, he would’ve fought to the death, as recommended by his Major Heyward.
    Most of the world is still on a pre-17th Century script.
    One should keep this in mind when negotiating with Pakistan and Iran. For them, negotiating is battle.
    The other infamous habit of feral warfare is changing sides without any notice or negotiation with ones allies.
    This was chronic with Swiss formations during the Thirty-Years War. It led to them being universally banned from all European battlefields as mercenary forces. This is exactly where the Swiss neutrality comes from. At the time the Swiss had the same reputation as the SS did in late 1945. (!)
    The sanction was that such forces would never be offered the honors of war — and would be liquidated, entire, upon defeat. This sanction, against Swiss mercenaries, is now apart of the Geneva accords against all mercenaries from any quarter.
    Ironic, no?
    So, whenever we’re looking at green-on-blue the term is a misnomer. The perp is a re-flagged enemy agent — perhaps even a suicide agent.
    In which case, the ISAF ought to consider a quarantine for all Afghans that have left that nation. They must be excluded from close contact with ISAF elements and supporting contractors.
    For, it’s now obvious, that the vast bulk of green-on-blue perps have ‘over-the-border’ recent histories — apparently with few exceptions.
    Making ANY ‘vacation’ a tell — at least statistically.
    And, no wonder that these players ‘forgot’ to tell of their roaming.

  • mike merlo says:

    I was unable to locate where I used the phrase “justifiable homicide.” While I as much as the next ‘person’ appreciate challenges or criticisms to my views or thoughts I don’t look kindly upon one “putting words on mouth!” That being said ignoring ‘social mores,’ customs, traditions etc., on the part of an ‘outsider’ is the equivalent of putting ones life at risk.
    If your “wondering of what that says about Afghanistan” is a question in search of answer then in essence you’ve done nothing more self disqualify yourself as a commentator of consequence. Framing said act as one of a coward is reflective of one unable to grasp the more insidious nuances & behaviors that are part & parcel of human behavior.

  • Green1Delta says:

    It’s very simple, boys: if you stay out of Afghanistan you probably won’t be killed by an Afghan.
    Stay home. Stay alive.
    Animo et Fide!

  • Railman says:

    @ Mike Merlo, I find your response to Damon’s observations to be illogical and bigoted. Why would you find such offense to his comments, which I found to be purely speculative, when your own original comments were exactly the same in nature and implication? Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe either one of you used the words “justifiable homicide” in any of your comments prior to you doing so.
    I concur that committing a perceived cultural transgression, in any part of the world, may unwittingly lead to one’s own peril. It is also my opinion that it is irresponsible and disrespectful to speculate about such things when, in fact, there is no indication in this article that such an event may have transpired. Were you the deceased, would you like for your family to read such comments?


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