* Suicide bomber suspected of previous rocket attack
* Young Afghan also known to be reformed Taliban militant
* He gained trust of employers in NATO base, says family
* Security and intelligence lapses may have been factor
By Mirwais Harooni and Qiamuddin Shams
BAGRAM, Afghanistan, Nov 24 In the year before
Qari Naib blew himself up on Nov. 12 inside a NATO base near
Kabul killing four Americans, Afghan intelligence warned the
U.S. military at least twice that a worker could be planning an
attack, government and security officials said.
The Afghan officials also said they repeatedly asked Western
forces to share information about local employees at the vast
Bagram air base in order to check for "suspicious people among
them", but were refused.
When asked about the information sharing, NATO spokesman
Captain William Salvin said NATO forces "routinely partner with
ANDSF (Afghan National Defence and Security Forces) on all
elements of security, to include information sharing.
"We maintain a strong, day-to-day working relationship with
our Afghan counterparts but due to operational security we do
not get into specifics about what is shared."
According to Afghan authorities, the U.S. military was
cooperating closely now.
"After this attack, American forces have agreed to share
that information about their Afghan workers with us," said Wahid
Sediqqi, the governor's spokesman for Parwan province where the
sprawling, heavily fortified base is located.
Authorities subsequently discovered that Naib, a known
Taliban militant before undergoing a government
de-radicalisation programme, was using a fake name, Qari Enayat,
Many intelligence leads turn out to be false and it is not
clear whether better coordination would have unearthed Naib's
true intentions in time to prevent him killing two U.S. soldiers
and two contractors and wounding at least 15 others, in one of
the worst assaults on U.S. forces for years.
But the first attack inside one of NATO's most secure bases
has raised questions about Western forces' screening of local
workers and about programmes designed to reintegrate insurgents
The insider attack has also further complicated operations
in a country where the Afghan Taliban, al Qaeda and, more
recently, a local offshoot of Islamic State, are inflicting
heavy casualties and making more territory unsafe.
Since the Bagram attack, the base has been in near-lockdown,
with few Afghan workers now permitted inside.
Only 200 of an estimated 3,000 Afghans are believed to be
allowed to return to work for now, police in Bagram said.
Until Nov. 12, Naib would have been seen as a success story
for Afghanistan, which has tried to turn militants away from the
stubborn insurgency that is bent on toppling the government and
ridding the country of foreign troops.
"He was a former Taliban ... working inside the base for a
long time, gained their trust, and based on that trust he
carried out this attack," said Sediqqi.
In early 2012, after signing up for the reintegration
programme, Naib enrolled in a nine-month course at the Korean
Vocational Training Center inside Bagram base, learning English,
computer skills and how to fix cars.
Like most students at the centre, Naib was offered a job
After going through security checks, including finger prints
and biometrics to make sure he was not involved in past crimes,
Naib started working for Texas-based Fluor Corp as a car
mechanic at the base, members of his family told Reuters on a
recent visit to his modest home a short walk from the base.
Fluor Corp. said he was hired by one of its subcontractors.
"Fluor does not directly employ Afghans at Bagram," the
company said. "Furthermore, screening and vetting of employees
follows a process prescribed by the U.S. government. We follow
this process and require our subcontractors to do the same."
Naib, who was in his mid-20s, worked the night shift from 5
p.m. to 6 a.m., originally earning around 20,000 afghanis ($300)
a month. In March, he received a pay rise bringing his monthly
salary to 30,000, his mother, Gulalai, said.
According to his family, his supervisor was "very happy"
with Naib and trusted him, giving him food and drinks to take
home to his parents and four siblings, whom he alone supported.
On Nov. 11, the evening before the attack, Naib left the
house for work at 4 p.m. as usual, and "a loud explosion" was
heard the next morning, Gulalai recalled, speaking in her dead
She also urged authorities to release his body so that he
could be buried.
U.S. and NATO officials are investigating how Naib was able
to breach the base's rings of security, which include numerous
checkpoints and body scanners.
Afghan police have detained Naib's father and a cousin as
part of their investigation into the attack.
The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility soon after the
bombing, saying the assailant was one of their fighters and that
they had been planning it for four months. A spokesman declined
to discuss Naib's case further.
It is not known why or when the soft-spoken mechanic
rejoined the Taliban, or if he ever really left.
Bagram base, protected by concrete barriers and barbed wire
fences and home to around 14,000 coalition soldiers and
contractors, has come under attack before, mainly from rockets
launched by militants outside, but never from within.
Five years ago, Naib had been a suspect in one of those
rocket attacks, Afghan security officials said, forcing him to
go into hiding for days to avoid arrest.
But the authorities never found any evidence linking him to
the crime, and his mother said he was innocent.
"My son was an angel at heart. He was not guilty at all,"
To clear his name and prevent future police harassment,
village elders recommended that Naib join a reintegration
programme that promised education and jobs.
Around 11,000 militants have joined such schemes, but it is
unclear how many remain peaceful. A U.S. government watchdog
recently said the programmes had not led to a "significant
diminishment of the military capacity of armed opposition."
The government has documented 154 participants that have
returned to fighting, but officials privately say the actual
number is much higher.
Some Afghans remain wary of American involvement in their
country, and, while opposing militant violence, see foreign
troops as a part of the problem, not a solution to it.
"Even if he has blown himself up, he has killed and wounded
Americans," said a relative of Naib, who declined to be named
because of the sensitivity of the matter.
"He has not hurt any Afghans."
($1 = 66.8500 afghanis)
(Additional reporting and writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by