Six people have been arrested after an alleged al Qaeda plot to assassinate the Afghan President Hamid Karzai was foiled. President Karzai has escaped at least four attempts on his life since he took power.
Latifullah Mashal talks with journalists during a press conference in Kabul
Afghan President Karzai has escaped the fourth attempt on his life since taking office. Spokesman of the Afghan National Directorate of Security Latifullah Mashal has said that the six detained men included one of Karzai's bodyguards, as well as a professor at Kabul University and three college students, as AP reported. He added that they are the "most sophisticated and educated group in Kabul", a group which had assisted Pakistani militants sent to the Afghan capital to carry out terror attacks. The officials claimed that the arrested people were affiliated with al Qaida and the Haqqani militant group.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle Mashal added that one of the six arrested had been a member of parliament and that the men had received training in Pakistani North Waziristan and had admitted to having been sent to Kabul with plans to carry out an assassination on President Hamid Karsai.
Evidence that the men had been working together with al Qaeda has been secured in police searches of the men’s flats, Mashal added. "The evidence includes bank account information which shows that around 150,000 US dollars have been transferred to their accounts from abroad. Part of the money the men have spent themselves and part of it was transferred to Pakistan."
The Afghan intelligence agency has foiled a plot to assassinate President Hamid Karzai
Afghan officials have been increasingly vocal in publicly accusing the Pakistani spy agency, ISI, of supporting militants, including the Haqqani group. On Tuesday, they claimed that Pakistani officials had advance knowledge of the September 20 assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, as AP reports.
Pakistan continues to deny the accusations. The militant Haqqani group has been blamed by US intelligence officials and others for a number of high-profile attacks in Kabul in recent years, including hotel bombings and the assault last month on the US Embassy and NATO headquarters.
Author: Ratbil Shamel / Sarah Berning (AP, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Grahame Lucas