Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security disclosed today that it broke up a terror cell assigned to assassinate President Hamid Karzai and carry out other attacks in Kabul. The six-man cell included a medical professor, three university students, and a member of Karzai’s presidential bodyguard.
NDS said the group was tied to the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda, and that it had links with two al Qaeda recruiters who are based in Miramshah, North Waziristan. Several of the cell members trained in Peshawar.
The discovery of this cell provides an excellent look at what ISAF used to call the Kabul Attack Network. Here is a basic LWJ description of the Kabul Attack Network:
The Kabul Attack Network is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well. The network’s tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.
The six Afghan cell members haven’t been identified as belonging to specific groups. But don’t be surprised if the professor and/or some of the students are linked to Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin.
The excerpt below, from The Associated Press, provides additional details about the cell:
Mashal identified the two recruiters as an Egyptian named Sayifullah and a man from Bangladesh named Abdullah, who were based in Miram Shah, the capital of Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, where the Haqqani group and other militants operate with relative freedom.
Mashal said that the six Afghans were recruited “to carry out suicide attacks in Kabul, plan and coordinate bigger international attacks in the U.S. and parts of Europe and a luxury hotel in Kabul.”
“They also were responsible for recruiting one of the key security guards of President Karzai’s protective services. They had a plan to assassinate President Karzai maybe during his travels or trips to the provinces,” the Afghan intelligence spokesman said.
He did not disclose details about attacks the cell reportedly planned in the United States or Europe.
Those arrested were:
–Dr. Emal Habib Asadullah, a medical professor and director of microbiology at Kabul University.
–Mubullah Ahmadi, who is from Karzai’s hometown of Karz in southern Afghanistan. Ahmadi worked as a guard at the presidential palace.
–Rahmatullah Ramin, a fourth year medical student at Kabul University.
–Parwez, identified by only one name, who was studying at a private university in Kabul.
–Abdul Hamid Mashal, a university student.
–Abdul Bashir, a man from Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan, who was living in Kabul.
Several of the individuals received explosives and weapons training in Peshawar, Pakistan, Mashal said.
The group had access to $150,000 in a bank account in Kabul, he said, as well as access to computers and high-tech equipment. With its university ties, the cell was also well positioned to win more recruits, he said.
“The main purpose of the group was to kill high-ranking Afghan figures and identify guest houses used by foreigners or other potential targets in Kabul,” he said.