Over the past few weeks, Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) operatives have arrested over a dozen Taliban and Pakistani militants and confiscated over 10 tons of homemade explosive precursors and hundreds of anti-personnel landmines, effectively thwarting multiple plots by the Afghan Taliban to carry out its much flaunted “Al Farooq” spring offensive.
NDS spokesman Lutfullah Mashal explained to reporters on May 22 that Afghan intelligence operations thwarted a Taliban plot to attack the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) office in Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, according to Pajhwok News and NDS interrogation footage made available to journalists. Afghan officials held four suspected militants in connection with the plot, and confiscated a variety of small arms, suicide-bomb vests, hand grenades, and female clothing intended to disguise the militants during the planned attack. According to Mashal, the detainees confessed to receiving training from Pakistani and Uzbek militant commanders near Jalalabad, and said Taliban commanders Jafar and Qari Bilal had directed the attack from Pakistan.
Additionally, Mashal noted that two other suspected Taliban fighters were arrested in Nangarhar who were sent by Taliban commander Qari Abdul Wali to attack the Marko Bazaar, located in the Ghanikhel district. Another four suspected Taliban attackers were detained in Logar province for allegedly plotting to poison and kill Afghan soldiers based in the Dadukhel area, approximately 10 kilometers from Logar’s provincial capital. Lastly, two other Taliban suspects plotting to attack the Marco Rayon 3 section of Kabul City were also arrested by NDS operatives in Logar. The pair was allegedly affiliated with Taliban fighters in the Mohamad Aga district.
Three days ago, NDS officials arrested two suspected Taliban suicide bombers in Kandahar province. Acting on a tip, Afghan intelligence officers interdicted two Taliban fighters sent from Pakistan into Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district, and arrested two other individuals believed to maintain strong ties with Taliban leadership.
On May 15, members of the elite NDS commando unit Bost 170 intercepted nine tons of homemade explosive precursors — ammonium nitrate and quantities of T.N.T. — in Helmand province. [Click here for Helmand Governor Media Center photographs of the raid.] Afghan officials indicated that Taliban leader Mullah Agha Wali had smuggled the explosives from Pakistan’s Gerdi Jangle area to the Gereshk and Lashkar Gah districts in Helmand.
Earlier this month, NDS officials in Kabul and Nangarhar broke up multiple Taliban plots to launch complex assaults; officials arrested numerous suspects and confiscated 250 landmines and over a ton of explosives hidden in a dump truck in route to Kabul. Around the same time, NDS operatives arrested four suspects and broke up an insurgent plot to attack US military bases and the South Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team base located in Parwan province.
For previous coverage of NDS operations, see the following Long War Journal and Threat Matrix 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
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