While widespread media coverage has been given to recent Taliban attacks in Kabul – with some pundits overestimating and foolishly comparing the attacks to the Viet Cong’s “Tet Offensive” in 1968 – Afghan intelligence officials have since April 13 quietly prevented three major terror plots intended to cause catastrophic levels of destruction and death in the capital city.
The Long War Journal previously covered the unprecedented interdiction of nearly 11 tons of homemade explosives by Afghan National Security Directorate (NDS) officials around April 13, and their foiling of a Taliban assassination plot on April 15 against Afghanistan’s Second Vice President. At least three of the attackers arrested with the explosives on April 13 were Pakistani citizens; the remaining two were identified as Afghans with ties to a regional terror network known as the Qari Baryal Group.
Earlier today, the NDS announced that Afghan intelligence forces successfully intercepted and disarmed a truck carrying 1,000 kilograms – or approximately one ton – of unspecified explosives and arrested the driver, a Pakistani citizen from the “tribal parts of Pakistan,” according to NDS spokesman Lutfullah Mashal.
Although NDS did not specify the intended target of today’s intercepted truck-bomb, authorities captured the truck along the Kabul-Jalalabad highway in eastern Kabul, the same area where Taliban militants launched a multi-pronged suicide attack on May 2 against the Green Village camp, a housing complex in eastern Kabul that hosts a litany of foreign employees and contractors. The brazen early morning attack killed at least seven people and injured nearly two dozen, mostly civilians, and all five Taliban attackers were killed in the attack.
Today’s prevention of what would have likely been a devastating terror attack in the capital city of over 6 million people is a testament to the increasing capabilities of Afghanistan’s burgeoning intelligence agency. This is not to say that the NDS and Afghan security establishment are infallible, far from it, but the force is not completely incompetent or unreliable, either.
Today’s news will likely not surprise astute Afghan observers or followers of the Long War Journal. Last year, the Long War Journal reported on a series of major terror plots that were broken up by the NDS [see list below]. These are significant developments that deserve attention, despite the wider media’s tendency to only cover Taliban attacks, or as the shameless old press adage goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.”
For additional coverage of NDS operations, see the following Threat Matrix and Long War Journal reports:
- NDS smashes Haqqani Network plots in Kabul, July 31, 2011
- Elite Afghan force destroys insurgent explosives cache, Aug. 22, 2011
- NDS dismantles Kabul Attack Network cell, Aug. 28, 2011
- Afghan NDS continues crackdown on counterfeit uniforms, Sept. 5, 2011
- Afghan intelligence operations take on significant role, Sept. 21, 2011