Afghan intelligence thwarts 3rd major terror plot in Kabul

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:

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  • Gerald says:

    Way to go Fellas!! Maybe there is some light at the end of that tunnel!!

  • JimBoMo says:

    Impressive. Suggests that NDS intelligence/counter-intelligence have developed some good networks and that the sources on those networks are sufficiently motivated and/or confident enough to pass on plot intel. And nice work letting the plots play out so they can learn more and see who the players are. Must be very disconcerting for the Talib leadership to realize they’ve been reasonably well penetrated.
    Which gets me wondering…recent attacks in Kabul were high profile but not very effective and the response seems to have been well coordinated… I wonder how how much Afgan intel knew in advance about the plot and the gunmen and if they let it play out so as to not reveal sources? Interesting.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    I think this shows that The CIA trained NDS is coming along quite nicely, although they obviously have a ways to go before becoming a top notch intel agency. But the CIA are among the best in the buisness and have been training them well. Another good score for the NDS….well done!

  • mike merlo says:

    NDS keeps impressing.

  • Alex says:

    It seems like the WOT is being run out of Langley now with Petraeus still in charge.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    I agree with ALex’ remarks. I’ve closely followed Pentagon briefings since the start of OIF on and and the days of Brigade and Division level Combatant Commander briefings in theater are long gone. The Pentagon now is briefing on things like sexual assault awareness, health care, integrating GLBT into the force, family programs, the mortuary scandal etc.
    There hasn’t been an in theater Brigade commander featured in a briefing in over a year where there used to be one every week or two and a Regional/Division O-10 once a month or more.
    It seems the “uniforms” are not to be the face of the Obama Pentagon in an election year. It’s a lot of Leon Panetta selling social programs.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    Oops, meant O-8 above … the Regional commanders like MGs Allyn (RC East), Huggins (RC South), Gurganis (RC SW) or even LTG Bolger who is running the Training mission these days.
    It seems the Pentagon went into political mode and started showcasing the suits soon after Panetta relieved Gates (although I have a lot of respect for Dempsey and the JCOS).


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