Eight senior Afghan officials, including several generals were relieved of their command and are being questioned in connection to last month’s attack in Kabul, officials told Reuters on Monday. Included among those relieved of command are Muhammad Salem Ehsas, Kabul’s police chief; Abdul Khaliq, the chief of the defense ministry’s intelligence and detection wing; Abdul Manan Farahi, the chief for counterterrorism in the interior ministry; and Nazar Shah, the head of the intelligence department for Kabul. Muhammad Salem Ehsas served as Kabul’s police chief since September 2007 after he replaced Major General Esmatullah Daulatzai.
Afghan Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabit, the lead investigator into the failed April 27 assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai, suspended the officials after taking over the investigation from a prior council.
“Sabit gave the order for the suspensions of the eight people so they can be investigated because they had the responsibility for security at the parade,” Hayatullah Hayat, an official in the attorney general’s office, told Reuters.
Two other suspects, a police medic employed by the interior ministry and an armorer for the defense ministry, were arrested in Kabul on May 5 for their involvement in the attack. Jawed, the defense ministry employee, supplied the two AK-47 assault rifles and a machine gun used by the assassins. Zalmay, the second suspect, is suspected of maintaining contact with one of the key plotters of the attack.
Humayun, who is suspected to have assisted in planning the attack, was killed during an Afghan police raid on his Kabul hideout on May 1. Humayun, a foreign woman, and a small child were killed after an explosion tore through their Kabul apartment shortly after Afghan police attempted to arrest them. Afghan intelligence claimed the woman and child were preparing to launch a suicide attack within the capital limits. Humayun was also suspected of playing major role in the Taliban’s January assault against the five-star Serena hotel in Kabul. Eight people, including foreign aid workers and journalists were killed in the Serena attack.
Afghan intelligence has maintained members of the Haqqani Network based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal agency planned and facilitated both Kabul attacks. Logistical help provided by local gunmen loyal to renegade Commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar participated in the April 27 attack. Three of the gunmen were killed by police and three others were arrested shortly after the group of six opened fire on the Mujahidin parade ceremony with a hail of machine gun and mortar fire. Four people, including a Parliamentarian, a 10-year-old child and local tribal elder, were killed in the volley of fire.
The Afghan defense minister, the interior minister and the head of Afghan intelligence endured a vote of no-confidence by the Afghan Parliament on April 29 for failing to prevent the attack. Despite the vote, all three have retained their positions.
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