He Killed a Red Cross Worker: ‘I Will Go to Hell for What I Did’

“The relationship Lorena had with children was magic,” her colleagues wrote in a tribute later. “Whenever Lorena was around, the environment was radiant.”

Mr. Nasim’s attack put at risk a treasured institution run by the Red Cross for nearly three decades, serving thousands of the war wounded in northern Afghanistan. Not only was the orthopedic center closed for two months after the killing, but the agency is now looking to transfer it to another group if it can find one willing to take it over.

Mr. Nasim struggled to explain what he had done and why. First, he described it as an impulsive act. But he had brought the gun to Mazar-i-Sharif from his home in Baghlan Province two days before the shooting, which would have required smuggling it past numerous checkpoints along the way.

Then he claimed the Taliban had forced him to do it, threatening to kill his family if he did not. The Taliban vehemently denied that, praising the work the Red Cross does. In a separate interview, Mr. Nasim’s own father, Amin Jan, scoffed at his son’s claim and disowned him.

“I don’t know what made me do this,” Mr. Nasim said.

He is far from the only Afghan to have killed a foreigner with no apparent provocation. In 2014, a police officer killed an Associated Press photographer. Another killed three Americans at a hospital. Both told investigators they did not know why they had done it.

Neither had any known Taliban or insurgent connections; nor did Mr. Nasim.

While his motivations are murky, Mr. Nasim makes no effort to deny his guilt.

“I will go to hell for what I did,” he said. “I should just be killed.”

Mr. Nasim has yet to be tried on the murder and terrorism charges he faces. Afghanistan has the death penalty and often uses it.

He has already paid a price. Mr. Nasim shares a cell in the Mazar-i-Sharif prison with 40 others. One of his orthotic braces fell off during his arrest and was left behind, as was his wheelchair. In prison, his other brace broke.

“Now I am not able to walk any more,” he said. “I just go around on my hands.”

He said he would not ask the Red Cross to fix his braces or return his wheelchair.

“I am too ashamed,” he said. Another prisoner had to carry him on his back a short distance from his cell to the prison’s telephone office for the interview.

Mr. Nasim said he was less worried about his own condition than about the Red Cross center’s future.

“I would be ready to die to keep that center open now,” he said. “No one knows more than me how much we are helpless without them.”

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