Afghanistan: Policewoman who killed American is Iranian

Updated 26 December 2012
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Afghanistan: Policewoman who killed American is Iranian

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 Tuesday.
The policewoman, identified as Sgt. Nargas, shot 49-year-old Joseph Griffin, of Mansfield, Georgia, 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 with a single pistol bullet.
The US-based security firm DynCorp. International said on its website that Griffin was a US military veteran who earlier worked with law enforcement agencies in the United States. 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 like many in the country, was born in Tehran, where she married an Afghan. She moved to the country 10 years ago after 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, held various positions and had a clean record, he said. Sediqi produced an Iranian passport which he said was found at 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. Zahir said the lapse of security was also being investigated, as well as whether she had connections with foreign or local militant groups.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the killing.
Zahir said that during interrogation, the policewoman said she had plans to kill either the Kabul governor, city police chief or Zahir himself, but when she realized that penetrating the last security cordons to reach them would be too difficult, she saw “a foreigner” and turned her weapon on him.
On Monday, NATO said that “some temporary, prudent measures” might be put into place to lessen exposure of NATO personnel to insider attacks, but the training of Afghan police would not be stopped. The NATO command had no additional comment on the case Tuesday.
There have been 60 insider attacks this year against foreign military and civilian personnel, compared to 21 in 2011. This surge presents another looming security issue as NATO prepares to pull out almost all of its forces by 2014, turning the war against the Taleban and other militant groups largely in the hands of the Afghans.
More than 50 Afghan members of the government’s security forces also have died this year in attacks by their own colleagues. The Taleban claims such incidents reflect a growing popular opposition to the foreign military presence and the Kabul government.


Toronto: Bodies and debris scattered over mile-long strip

Updated 46 min 11 sec ago
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Toronto: Bodies and debris scattered over mile-long strip

  • At least 10 people have died in the attack officials called “deliberate” but not linked to national security concerns
  • Toronto police have the suspect after a confrontation

TORONTO: The crime scene seems to go on forever, a taped off stretch of street scattered with bodies under orange sheets, urban debris and a pair of abandoned shoes.

Toronto police have arrived, and a suspect is under lock and key, but no one yet knows why the driver of a white rental van spread death and destruction under the warm spring sunshine.

“I heard screaming, yelling. I turned back and saw this truck going that way. He was going in and out, back and forth, zigzagging. He just kept on going,” said 42-year-old Rocco Cignielli.

There was nothing the customer service worker could do. Emergency services were on the scene quickly, but in some cases their efforts were in vain.

At least 10 people have died in the attack officials called “deliberate” but not linked to national security concerns.

“I saw there were people lying on the ground. I saw they were doing heart compression, and I saw two people dying right here in front of me,” Cignielli told AFP, pointing at the bodies.

It was shortly after 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) on a working Monday when the speeding van hit this commercial thoroughfare in a district of high-rise residences in the north of Canada’s biggest city.

A pale but cheery sun shone after a long and grim final winter stretch even by the region’s standards. Many local people were out and about.

Nana Agyeman Badu, a 56-year-old taxi driver, saw the van heading south toward central Toronto, where ministers from the G7 world powers were holding a security conference. Then the van swerved onto the sidewalk.

“I thought maybe he was making a delivery. But I was thinking, ‘Why would he drive in the pedestrian walkway like that?’ Very fast. Then I saw he had already run over some people,” the witness said.

“A lady was walking toward the car close to a bus shelter. The truck pinged the lady through the bus shelter and she fell back and all the broken glass fell onto her,” he added.

“I stopped and ran out to help her. The truck continued going and going and going.”

The truck smashed a yellow fire hydrant, a few newspaper dispensers and there, a bit further, lie a pair of sneakers.

“They belong to a victim,” a police officer said.

Some in a crowd that gathered by the police tape as dozens of rescue vehicles were deployed were dumbfounded. “It is a dangerous crossroads,” one woman suggested.

“Oh, it was no accident,” declared another passerby.