Afghan president sees Pakistani work in bombing attempt on spy chief

 

Islamabad, Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has charged that the suicide bomber who tried to kill his top intelligence aide in the Afghan capital on Thursday had come from next-door Pakistan and that the assassination plot had been "designed" there.

Speaking with journalists at the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai said Asadullah Khalid, head of the National Directorate of Security, was expected to "recover completely" and return to work. Khalid was severely injured in the bombing and flown to Bagram air base, the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan, for medical treatment.

Although Karzai vowed that the "peace process will continue," the attack marked a severe setback to Afghan and U.S. hopes for progress on long-stalled peace talks with the Islamist insurgents. Karzai's allegations of Pakistani involvement seemed likely to undermine recent positive steps in the contentious relationship between the neighboring Muslim countries.

Karzai stopped short of accusing Pakistan's intelligence agency of planning the attack, but he described it as a "very sophisticated and complicated act by a professional intelligence service" and said his government would be "seeking a lot of clarifications from Pakistan" about the incident.

He said he was certain the bomber had come from Pakistan. "We know it as a fact," he said. He did not offer any details or evidence. He and other Afghan officials have often accused Pakistan's military and intelligence services of working against Afghan interests and fomenting violence there.

Pakistan has said it supports the peace process, and recently it released a number of Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture after an Afghan peace committee visited Islamabad. But Pakistan's military and intelligence services have maintained relations with Taliban leaders, apparently hedging their bets in case the Islamist militia returns to power. Some Taliban leaders are widely believed to live freely in Pakistan's border regions.

Afghan intelligence officials said the bomber, thought to be a peace messenger from the Taliban, was invited to a guest house used by Khalid in Kabul and blew himself up as he greeted the intelligence chief. They said he had explosives in his underwear. Karzai said he was not searched because of Khalid's "respect for our traditions and hospitality."

An almost identical scenario resulted in the death of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani in September 2011. In that case, another ostensible peace emissary from the Taliban entered Rabbani's house in Kabul and was not searched. Upon greeting the former president, the man detonated a bomb in his turban.

At the time, Afghan officials suggested more directly that Pakistan's intelligence service was behind the attack on Rabbani, who was then heading a national peace council promoting negotiations with the Taliban.

Spokesmen for the Afghan Taliban asserted responsibility for Thursday's attack on Khalid, but Karzai said that "more professional hands" were behind it. He suggested the bombing was a professional plot by an intelligence service "in our neighborhood, or somewhere else."

The Afghan president had appointed Khalid to several top posts, including two governorships, before making him his spy chief in September. Karzai said his national security adviser and defense minister visited Khalid on Friday and reported that he was able to talk and move his hands. Officials said the bomb caused multiple wounds to his lower body.

Khalid, 43, is a controversial figure who has been accused by international human rights groups and diplomats of running a secret dungeon and being involved in drug trafficking. However, he is also known as a tough anti-Taliban leader and is one of Karzai's most durable political associates.

- - -

Javed Hamdard in Kabul contributed to this report.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam