Afghans seize explosives, make Pakistan link

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Afghanistan security forces have detained five insurgents with massive quantities of explosive material intended for use in attacks on crowded areas of Kabul and linked them to Pakistan-based militants, an intelligence spokesman said on Saturday.
The alleged connection to militants in Pakistan will likely step up the pressure on Islamabad, after a recent coordinated assault by insurgents on diplomatic and government areas in Kabul and elsewhere put the spotlight on the South Asian nation. “It could have caused large-scale bloodshed,” National Directorate of Security (NDS) spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiri told a news conference. “Three Pakistani terrorists and two of their Afghan collaborators who placed the explosives under bags of potatoes in a truck were caught.” The 10 tons (22,046 lbs) of potassium material, used to make bombs, were stuffed into 400 bags and hidden under piles of potatoes in the back of a Pakistan-registered truck on Kabul’s outskirts, said Tahiri. The US ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, said there was “no question” that the Haqqani network, which Washington believes is based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, mounted last weekend’s 18-hour rocket and gunfire operation in Kabul. Crocker called on Pakistan to crack down on the Haqqanis and said the response to that demand would influence future ties between the strategic allies. Relations have been heavily strained by a series of events, including the unilateral U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May of last year. Pakistan has denied accusations that its military spy agency sees the Haqqanis as a counterweight to the growing influence of rival India in Afghanistan.

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