Afghan security forces foiled an insurgent plot to attack Afghanistan’s parliament and the home of one of the country’s leaders, Afghan officials said Sunday.
Four Afghans and a Pakistani were arrested in central Kabul late Saturday by officers from Afghanistan’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, together with a large amount of weapons and ammunition and some Afghan army uniforms, according to an NDS statement.
The statement said that the night-time raid that netted the suspects had thwarted “many suicide and coordinated attacks in Kabul,” including an attack on Parliament and the home of Karim Khalili, Afghanistan’s second vice-president and leader of the Hezb-i-Wahdat party.
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said that Afghan security forces had arrested “multiple insurgents” and seized a large cache of weapons, including explosives and suicide vests, as the insurgents were finalizing the plans for their attack.
The NDS statement said that Pakistani ID cards and money as well as Pakistani phone numbers were also found during the raid. The statement said that this demonstrated the plotters’ links “with terrorists on the other side of the border” – a reference to Pakistan, which some Afghan and coalition officials have accused of sheltering and supporting insurgents.
One Afghan television channel showed footage Sunday of what it said was Saturday’s NDS operation, with images of the raid on the suspects’ location and pictures of the seized weapons and of several detainees in traditional dress with hoods on their heads.
Some of the footage of the operation appeared to have been restaged, with NDS officers being instructed before the raid to take care to prevent civilian casualties, entering the courtyard of the suspects’ house without difficulty, and apparently meeting no resistance once inside.
The NDS arrests took place as the Afghan National Security Forces face renewed questions about their integrity and loyalty following a spate of so-called green on blue attacks, where individuals wearing ANSF uniforms have turned their weapons on their coalition counterparts.
Six ISAF service members were killed in apparent green on blue attacks in the restive southern province of Helmand on Friday, making a total of four attacks by suspected ANSF members on coalition troops in less than a week. On Saturday, an Afghan policeman shot dead 11 other police officers in western Nimroz province before being shot, according to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior.
Meanwhile, in the latest in an intensifying series of targeted killings of government officials, the governor of Alishing district in the eastern province of Laghman was killed Sunday when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device or home-made bomb, local officials said. The blast, which occurred around midday as Faridullah Neyazi was driving to the provincial capital, also killed three of his bodyguards, said a spokesman for Laghman’s governor.