Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — NATO forces swooped down on the home of a senior Afghan police official, arrested him and accused him of helping insurgents make and plant roadside bombs, Western military officials said Sunday.
The incident, which took place last week in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan, is likely to raise tensions between foreign forces and the national police.
That partnership is considered a crucial element of plans by the Obama administration to draw down American forces starting next year. Before any large-scale Western pullout occurs, Afghan security forces are supposed to take on more responsibility for safeguarding the country.
If the charges against the arrested official are borne out, the case would represent one of the most serious instances to date of complicity with the Taliban or other militant groups by a ranking Afghan security official.
But Afghan officials raised doubts about the man's guilt, and the Interior Ministry, which oversees the national police, said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had been asked for an explanation.
In a statement describing Friday's raid, NATO did not name the official, who was arrested along with a bodyguard. But provincial authorities identified him as Attaullah Wahab, who served as the deputy chief and security head of the national police in the province.
The NATO statement said the arrested man was suspected of helping distribute and plant bombs on roads surrounding Kapisa's capital, Mahmud-i-Raqi. Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are the principal killer of Western troops across Afghanistan.
In addition to alleged involvement with the explosives ring in Kapisa, the arrested man was accused of corruption in connection with a road project, NATO said. He also allegedly was tied to unspecified illegal activities in the district of Bagram in neighboring Parwan province, where the country's biggest American base is located, and had been linked to a killing last year, the alliance said.
Provincial officials wondered whether it could be a case of mistaken identity. Afghans sometimes try to settle clan vendettas or other disputes by giving false information about an enemy to Western forces.
"We don't know anything about this. They didn't coordinate with us," said Halim Ayar, a spokesman for Kapisa's governor. He said he did not know of any allegations of wrongdoing against the police official.
NATO said Afghan and Western troops, backed by helicopters, took part in the raid. The statement did not specify the nationality or service branch of the foreign forces, but Ayar identified them as American.
Special correspondent M. Karim Faiez contributed to this report.