Posts Tagged ‘NDS’
The terrorists who launched a commando assault on one of Kabul’s leading hotels received help from three insiders, including a police officer, according to the man who planned the attack.
Eight suicide bombers armed with rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machineguns, assault rifles, grenade launchers and suicide vests stormed the InterContinental Hotel on the night of June 28, triggering a battle that lasted more than seven hours and left 20 dead.
The attack highlighted the inability of Kabul’s security forces to thwart attacks on high-profile targets in the Afghan capital as Nato begins to hand over control of parts of the country to the Afghan government.
Closed-circuit TV footage taken from the InterContinental on the night of the attack showed the commander of the hotel’s police force asleep as the first shots were fired. After he awoke to the sound of gunfire, he could be seen fleeing the hotel with his men.
Last Sunday, militants assassinated an Afghan politician and a close aide of President Hamid Karzai’s. The attack underlined the threat insurgents pose to security in the capital. It also hinted at the role Pakistan plays in stoking insecurity in Afghanistan.
Mobile phone intercepts made during the initial stages of the InterContinental attack show the attackers were communicating directly with their commander, Badruddin Haqqani, who is based in Pakistan, where the attack was planned.
Badruddin is the deputy leader of the Haqqani network, which is considered the most sophisticated insurgent force in Afghanistan. The Haqqanis maintain close ties with Al-Qaeda and are often accused of receiving support from the Pakistani military and intelligence services.
“It’s like a PlayStation game,” said an Afghan intelligence official. “Pakistan always holds one of the controllers so they can play their games whenever they want.”
Police investigating the attack are baffled by how the InterContinental attackers were able to break into the well-guarded hotel with such a large arsenal. One insurgent was caught on camera carrying 16 RPG warheads in a quiver on his back. “How they got into the hotel with this much ammunition is still a mystery,” said an Afghan security official.
The deputy head of the Haqqani network’s Kabul cell, which is responsible for planning and co-ordinating attacks in the Afghan capital, told The Sunday Times that the attackers were aided by a police officer, an interpreter and the bodyguard of a senior government official who was staying at the hotel. Read the rest of this entry »
Their faces concealed with chequered scarves, the Taliban assassins found Haji Zahir Arian sitting on cushions in the living room of a friend’s house. They wasted no time in striking a blow against peace.
The first hitman to enter the small room raised his rifle and loosed off four rounds as Arian, the deputy head of the peace council in Helmand province, lifted his arms to shield himself.
One of the bullets grazed the 59-year-old’s underarm, striking a wall behind him. The other three rounds thudded into his chest, causing his body to convulse against the wall before it slid to the floor.
The Taliban fled, leaving Arian’s friend, Najibullah Popal, trembling with fear as he watched the body ooze blood into the cushions.
Afghan policemen guarding a checkpoint just 100 yards away failed to give chase as the gunmen sped off in a black Toyota Corolla. “Who killed him?” asked Ghulam Farooq, a colleague and close friend of Arian whose uncle was strangled by the Taliban two months ago. “The security forces killed him, by failing to protect him.”
The assassination of Arian on April 23 is one of several attacks in which the Taliban have singled out “soft targets” inside Lashkar Gah, Helmand’s capital, in recent months.
The killings are aimed at destabilising the town as British troops prepare formally to transfer control to Afghan security forces next month. The handover marks the beginning of the end of British and American military engagement in Helmand. Read the rest of this entry »
The windowless cell was bare apart from a single bed. The prisoner, a former British Army officer, shuffled through the door, his hands and legs bound in chains that clanged against the metal bars. His Afghan guards had stripped him of his possessions, leaving him with little more than a bar of soap and some toothpaste.
“When I saw what my life had become it absolutely broke my heart. It was like Guantanamo Bay,” said Bill Shaw, his voice breaking with emotion.
Shaw, who was appointed an MBE after serving as a military policeman in Bosnia, Colombia and Iraq, had been locked in a prison packed with Afghan drug smugglers. “They gave me a brown uniform to wear. The only things I was allowed to keep were my socks and underpants,” he said.
It is nearly two months since Shaw, a manager with a security company that protects the British embassy in Kabul, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for allegedly bribing an Afghan intelligence agent, a crime he insists he did not commit.
In his first interview since he was detained, Shaw, a father of three children, revealed he had spent the first weeks in solitary confinement. He has since been moved to the maximum-security wing of Kabul’s most notorious jail, Pul-e-Charkhi, where he is serving his sentence within spitting distance of murderers and militants.
Last week I met Shaw in Pul-e-Charkhi after passing through six security barriers. I introduced myself and he said he was glad to be meeting a reporter from his favourite newspaper. He looked dishevelled. Flecks of grey tinged the tips of his short beard. He wore traditional Afghan clothes and said he was growing the beard to blend in.
His ordeal began last October when two of his company’s cars were impounded by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, for not having proper licence plates. Read the rest of this entry »
By Miles Amoore and David Leppard
THE British Army is facing allegations that at least 10 Taliban suspects were beaten and given electric shocks after being handed over to local security forces in Afghanistan.
The Afghan detainees have told British investigators that they were also whipped with cables and suffered sleep deprivation in prisons in Kabul and Sangin in the southern province of Helmand.
The jails are run by the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS), which has a reputation for mistreating prisoners handed over to it by western forces.
The men are among several hundred suspected Taliban insurgents captured by British troops on the battlefield since 2002.
Their case, which will be heard by the High Court next month, is the latest blow to ministers already hit by claims that MI5 and MI6 colluded in the torture of up to 25 British men caught up in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme for terror suspects.
The new development is particularly sensitive because Britain’s strategy in Afghanistan is focused on winning the hearts and minds of the population.
British forces are not accused of direct involvement in the alleged mistreatment. However, transferring a prisoner into the hands of another state when there is a real risk that they could be tortured or mistreated is a direct breach of the Geneva conventions. British officers could therefore face possible war crime charges if the claims can be proven. Read the rest of this entry »