Afghan Policewoman Suspected Of Shooting American Was Mentally Ill Say Children

Category: Politics / Dec 26, 2012 5:43PM EDT
The Afghan policewoman suspected of killing a U.S. contractor at police headquarters in Kabul suffered from mental illness and had attempted suicide because of poverty, her children told Reuters on Wednesday (December 26). The woman was identified by authorities as Narges rays a momen abad Rezaeimomenabad, a 40-year-old grandmother and mother of three who moved to Afghanistan from Iran 10 years ago and married an Afghan man. On Monday (December 23) morning, she loaded a pistol in a bathroom at the police compound, hid it in her long scarf and shot an American police trainer, apparently becoming the first woman to carry out such an attack. Narges also tried to shoot police officials after killing the American. Luckily for them, her pistol jammed. Her husband is also under investigation. In an interview, her son Sayed, 16, and daughter Fatima, 13, described how they tried to call their parents 100 times after news broke of the shooting incident, then waited in vain for them to come home. They recalled Narges' severe mood swings, and how at times she beat them and even pulled out a knife. But the children said she was steady in her complaints about poverty. "She was usually complaining about poverty. She was complaining to my father about our conditions. She was saying that my father was poor," said Sayed, in their damp, cold two-room cement house. On the floor beside him were his mother's prescription sheets and a thick plastic bag filled with pills she tried to swallow to end the misery about a month ago. On another occasion she cut her wrist with a razor, said Sayed. At times Narges would try and focus on building her children's confidence, telling them to be guided by the Muslim holy book, the Koran, to tackle life's problems. Sayed and Fatima said she never spoke badly about the American presence in Afghanistan or President Hamid Karzai's government. Neighbor Mohammad Ismail Kohistani was dumbfounded to hear on the radio that Afghan officials are combing Narges' phone records to try and determine whether al Qaeda or the Taliban could have brainwashed her into carrying out a mission. But he was acutely aware of her mental problems and often heard her scream at her husband, whose menial job in the crime investigation unit of the police delivers little cash. Kohistani, who operates a small sewing shop with battered machines, never imagined his neighbor could be blamed for a high-profile attack that raised new questions about the direction of an unpopular war. "It was around 05:30pm (1300 GMT) that I got a call from my daughter. She said that the police searched our house and the woman who shot the American was Imanuddin's mother (Narges)," he said. Fatima would often seek refuge in Kohistani's house when her mother's behavior became unbearable. Nevertheless, Fatima misses her mother. The children are staying with a cousin. "I ask the government to free my mother otherwise our future will be destroyed," said Fatima. Officials described it as another "insider shooting", in which Afghan forces turn on Westerners they are meant to be working with to stabilize the country. There have been over 52 such attacks so far this year. -Reuters