- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 12, 2006

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A former president of Afghanistan accused Pakistani military intelligence of trying to kill him in a suicide attack yesterday, intensifying an increasingly bitter dispute between two U.S. allies in the war on terrorism.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a roadside bomb killed four U.S. troops in an armored vehicle, the deadliest attack on coalition forces in a month.

Sibghatullah Mojaddidi, who is in charge of a commission to encourage members of the ousted Taliban regime to lay down arms, was wounded in the attack in the capital that killed the two bombers and two civilians.

Mr. Mojaddidi was being driven to work on a main road in Kabul when the attackers detonated a car laden with explosives near his vehicle.

Shortly after the attack, Mr. Mojaddidi appeared at a press conference with bandages on his hands and blamed a Pakistani military intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence.

“We have got information that ISI of Pakistan has launched a plan to kill me,” he said.

“What is my fault? My fault is that I am working for the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan. [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf and ISI of Pakistan do not want Afghanistan to be safe and secure.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry rejected the charge. A spokesman said, “We condemn such attacks and loss of innocent lives wherever they happen. These are baseless allegations, and we reject them completely.”

Mr. Mojaddidi’s assertion of Pakistani involvement in the attack threatened to inflame a diplomatic spat between the neighbors, which was sparked by Afghan complaints that Islamabad is not doing enough to curb terrorists who plan and conduct attacks from sanctuaries in Pakistan’s border lands.

Pakistan, which officially ended its support for the Taliban after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, says it does all it can to stop cross-border movement by militants.

The four American soldiers died when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in the Pech Valley in eastern Kunar province as they patrolled to keep a road open to civilian and military traffic, military spokesman Col. James Yonts told the Associated Press.

Kunar Gov. Asadullah Wafa said the blast occurred as a convoy of six U.S. vehicles was passing at 4:15 p.m. It was the deadliest attack since Feb. 13, when a roadside bomb killed four American troops traveling in an armored vehicle in central Uruzgan province.

The bombing raised the death toll of American military personnel in the region to 220 since a U.S.-led offensive toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in late 2001.

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