U.S. civilian adviser killed by Afghan policewoman

December 24, 2012

An American civilian adviser was killed Monday by a female Afghan police officer at the police headquarters in Kabul, according to U.S. and Afghan officials. The incident appears to be the first “ insider attack ” since October and the first carried out by a woman.

The adviser, Joseph Griffin, 49, of Mansfield, Ga., was shot as he was looking at a case full of decorative medals in the sprawling police compound, according to Afghan police officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the news media. “He was shot in his heart and died very quickly afterwards in the hospital,” one official said.

The assailant was arrested soon after the attack, which was confirmed by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“A civilian police adviser was shot and killed this morning by a suspected member of Afghan uniformed police outside the Kabul police headquarters,” said Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesman for ISAF. “The shooter is in custody.”

Stadtlander confirmed that the assailant was a woman.

According to an Afghan police official, the shooter’s name is Nargis, and she is one of 1,850 female police officers trained in the country since 2002.

Griffin was an employee of Falls Church-based DynCorp International. He had “worked in support of several of the company’s global training and mentoring programs since November 2000,” according to a company news release.

“The loss of any team member is tragic but to have this happen over the holidays makes it seem all the more unfair. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family, loved ones and colleagues during this difficult time,” said Steve Gaffney, chairman and chief executive of DynCorp International.

Griffin formerly worked at the Afghan Interior Ministry, which controls the nation’s police. The attacker also worked at the ministry, but in the department of gender rights, according to another Afghan official.

The motive behind the shooting was unclear; the attacker was still being questioned Monday.

More than 50 Western troops have been killed this year in insider or “green on blue” attacks, carried out by assailants who are members of the Afghan security forces. A recent Pentagon report to Congress said that many of the attacks stem from personal motives, rather than enemy infiltration of the Afghan police or military ranks.

If officially confirmed, Monday’s incident would be the first insider attack carried out by an Afghan woman.

Earlier this year, two American advisers were killed in their heavily secured office at the Interior Ministry by a police officer who is still at large.

Foreign troops led by NATO and the U.S. military briefly suspended the training of some Afghan forces a few months ago in the face of rising insider attacks.

Kevin Sieff contributed to this report.

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