Mental illness, poverty haunted Afghan policewoman who killed American

Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:42am EST
 

By Michael Georgy and Mirwais Harooni

KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghan policewoman suspected of killing a U.S. contractor at police headquarters in Kabul suffered from mental illness and was driven to suicidal despair by poverty, her children told Reuters on Wednesday.

The woman was identified by authorities as Narges Rezaeimomenabad, a 40-year-old grandmother and mother of three who moved here from Iran 10 years ago and married an Afghan man.

On Monday 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 Afghan 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.

Her son Sayed, 16, and daughter Fatima, 13, described how they tried to call their parents 100 times after news broke of the shooting, then waited in vain for them to come home.

They recalled Narges's severe mood swings, and how at times she beat them and even pulled out a knife. But the children said she was consistent in bemoaning poverty.

"She was usually complaining about poverty. She was complaining to my father about our conditions. She was saying that my father was poor," Sayid said in an interview in their damp, cold two-room cement house.

On the floor beside him were his mother's prescriptions 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, Sayed said.   Continued...

 
Fatima, 13, holds a picture of her mother Narges Rezaeimomenabad, suspected of killing a U.S. contractor at a police headquarters, at her home in Kabul December 26, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail