Posts Tagged ‘Haqqani network’
SITTING on the floor of a house on the outskirts of Kabul, the Haqqani network commander sipped green tea as he calmly explained the chaos his organisation set out to cause with an elaborate plot to blow up Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace.
The operation would have begun with an explosion set off in the grounds by a security guard from Karzai’s home village who had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in cash to betray him, according to Malim Asrallah, 46, a stocky veteran of 30 years of insurgencies.
The blast would have drawn other guards away from their posts on the perimeter of the palace, in the heart of Kabul.
“After he [the guard] had detonated the explosives, eight truck bombs were meant to hit the different entrances to the palace,” Asrallah said.
Small teams of gunmen would then have arrived to finish off the survivors.
If Karzai had escaped the bombings, which were planned to coincide with a cabinet meeting, these gunmen would have killed him and his most senior ministers, Asrallah concluded with a flourish.
In the event, the plot — which had been planned for nine months — was foiled. Two weeks ago, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) arrested six men for their alleged roles. Among them was the director of microbiology at Kabul University, who is accused of recruiting students and other conspirators.
At the time, the NDS said simply that the plan had been to assassinate the president, perhaps on a trip to one of the provinces.
However, The Sunday Times has pieced together information from Afghan intelligence sources, government officials and the Haqqani network itself to establish that the plot was intended not only to destroy the government, but to trigger prolonged ethnic conflict.
Asrallah’s account, which has been corroborated by NDS sources, reveals that the Haqqani network, Afghanistan’s most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group, was planning simultaneous attacks on the ministries of defence and the interior, and on the headquarters of the NDS itself.
The network also planned to assassinate leaders of the Hazara and Tajik communities, including the governor of Balkh province in the north of the country, with the aim of provoking inter-ethnic war, two senior NDS officials said.
The NDS believes that up to 100 people, including government officials, were involved in the conspiracy. Asrallah put the number even higher. Read the rest of this entry »