Afghan officials arrest three with ‘links’ to Pakistan | Pakistan Today

Afghan officials arrest three with ‘links’ to Pakistan

KABUL: Afghan security forces have detained three insurgents they blame for an attack on a UN compound last month and believe they have links to the Afghan Taliban leaders based in Pakistan, security officials said here on Saturday.
Four Taliban suicide bombers, dressed as police and women, attacked the United Nations compound in Herat city, a commercial hub in Afghanistan’s west, on October 23. All four were killed and there were no casualties among the UN staff.
The attack caused concern for Afghan and NATO-led forces because Herat, once largely stable, was seen as an early candidate for the transfer of security responsibility from foreign forces to Afghans. The pace and scope of such security transfers will determine when and how many foreign troops can leave Afghanistan.
US President Barack Obama, who will review his Afghanistan war strategy next month, has promised to begin drawing down US forces from July 2011, if conditions on the ground allow. Sayed Ansari, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), said one of the three detained men, identified as Noor Mohammad, had been responsible for transporting the four suicide bombers from Quetta.
The bombers were taken from Quetta through southern Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban, to Herat, Ansari said. Ansari said the attack was directly connected to the “Quetta shura”, the senior Afghan Taliban leadership based in Quetta. “The attack took place under orders from Mullah Esmatullah Samangani, who is a current member of the Taliban’s Quetta shura and now lives in Pakistan”, Ansari told a news conference.
Afghan and Western officials believe Mullah Omar is still somewhere in Quetta and directing attacks against Karzai government and his Western backers. Ansari said two Pakistani nationals, who he identified only as Hekmat and Muneer, were also involved in preparing the four suicide bombers in Quetta.
He said the three were detained in Herat last week and that a fourth man, who resisted arrest, had been killed. One of Afghanistan’s largest cities, Herat is under the regional command of Italian troops and had enjoyed relative calm compared with Taliban strongholds in the south and east.



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