The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

Pakistan accused of link to Kabul attacks

AfghanistanA group of suicide bombers who stormed the Justice Ministry and a prison department building in the Afghan capital last month were trained in Pakistan’s lawless border region, according to Afghan intelligence officials.

The attack on Feb.11, which left 26 dead people and more than 50 wounded, was conducted by eight armed men wearing suicide vests, and has been compared to the militant attacks in Mumbai, India in November and against the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore March 4.

The attackers’ aim was to kill as many people as possible, Sayed Ansari, a spokesman for the National Security Directorate, said at a news briefing in Kabul Wednesday. They also intended to take hostages inside the Justice Ministry and demand the release of Taliban prisoners being held in Afghan jails, he said.

Seven accomplices have been since been arrested during investigations, and several more killed in a raid in Logar Province south of the capital, Mr. Ansari said. At least one of those arrested has said he was trained in Waziristan by a Pakistani named Mohammad Haris, who Mr. Ansari said organized the operation.

“He played an active role in organizing the attack from the other side of the border,” he said, adding that of Mr. Hares uses a number of aliases. “He was using a Pakistani mobile phone number to contact other members of the group,” he said.

Mr. Ansari also suggested that Pakistani intelligence had a role in the planning of the attacks. “I would like to say specifically that the intelligence agency of our neighboring country is involved and behind these attacks and organizing these activities,” he said.

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Afghan security officials have long blamed Pakistani intelligence for aiding Taliban insurgency, and increasingly complex attacks on Kabul over the last year have indicated greater sophistication in planning and executing the attacks.

In particular a senior Afghan security official has said that phone calls from a facilitator who organized a suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul was in direct phone contact with a Pakistani intelligence official in Peshawar, Pakistan. American intelligence agencies also concluded from intercepts that Pakistani intelligence officials helped plan that attack, American officials said later.

India has also blamed Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence for being behind a suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul last year and the attacks in Mumbai.

Pakistan has denied the allegations, blaming the attacks at most on “non-state actors.”

The attackers at the Afghan Justice Ministry, who were all killed in the three-hour battle that ensued, had intended to take hostages and demand the release of prisoners, Mr. Ansari said. They had a megaphone, enough food for several days, and cellphones to keep in touch with each other and with the mastermind in Pakistan and also had numbers for media outlets in order to publicize their case, he said.

An attacker also tried to reach the Education Ministry building but was killed by intelligence agents and police, Mr. Ansari said.

Even though the eight gunmen were able to breach security and reach the center of the city, Afghan security forces ended the siege within three hours. Five Afghan members of the police and intelligence services were killed.

Source: NYT

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