KABUL, Afghanistan — Sgt. Nargis went to work Monday with murder on her mind.
By the end of the morning, she would succeed, becoming responsible for this year's 62nd insider killing, in which Afghan security forces have killed U.S. or other coalition personnel. Such killings have greatly increased this year, but Nargis' killing of a U.S. police adviser, Joseph Griffin, 49, of Mansfield, Ga., ranks among the strangest.
Was she an Iranian agent, as Afghan officials suggested Tuesday after they found her Iranian passport at home? Was she mentally ill, as some police interrogators said privately and other officials speculated publicly?
The first theories, that she was either a jilted lover or a Taliban infiltrator, were rejected by the authorities Tuesday, but even her interrogators were left perplexed by her motives.
Making the case even stranger was her job: a uniformed police officer attached to the Interior Ministry's legal and gender equality unit, what would normally be seen as a plum job, one that is entirely underwritten by international aid, both American and European, earmarked specifically for women's rights issues.
All she would tell her interrogators was that she went to work aiming to kill someone important, and that she did not much care who, officials said.
"I was myself asking her, trying to make her talk about what could make her do such a thing, and all she would say was she wanted to kill a high official," said Gen. Mohammad Zaher, the director of the criminal investigation division of the Police Department in Kabul province, who attended her interrogations after her arrest Monday.
What she would not say, however, was why she had done it, he said.
"We just don't know," Zaher said.
The only thing Afghan officials seemed to be certain of was that Nargis was not a Taliban infiltrator. Even the Taliban did not claim as much in a statement issued by the group.