Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Karzai assassination plot foiled

Afghan intelligence officials have broken up a cell plotting to kill President Hamid Karzai

Afghan intelligence officials have broken up a cell which was plotting to kill President Hamid Karzai, arresting six people in Kabul whom they claimed were affiliated with al Qaida and the Haqqani militant group, it has been revealed.

The cell included one of Mr Karzai's bodyguards as well as a professor at Kabul University and three college students, intelligence service spokesman Latifullah Mashal said.

Mr Mashal described the cell as the "most sophisticated and educated group in Kabul" and said it had assisted Pakistani militants sent to the Afghan capital to carry out terror attacks. He did not say when they were arrested.

He said the group, which was also allegedly planning attacks in Kabul, the US and Europe, were recruited by an Egyptian and a Bangladeshi based in Pakistan.

Afghan officials have been increasingly vocal in publicly accusing Pakistan and its ISI intelligence agency of maintaining ties with 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.

Pakistan has denied the charges, but the accusations have further strained relations between the two nations which share a long border.

US intelligence officials have blamed the Haqqani militant group for a number of high-profile attacks in Kabul in recent years, including hotel bombings and the assault on the US Embassy last month.

Mr Mashal did not disclose details about attacks the cell reportedly planned in the United States or Europe.

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