- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban claimed Sunday that it kidnapped 50 Afghan policemen in northeastern Afghanistan — part of the insurgents’ murder-and-intimidation campaign against anyone affiliated with the U.S.-backed government.

Also Sunday, a NATO service member was killed in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan, the coalition said. No details were released about the death, which raised to 94 the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

Militants ambushed the policemen Saturday afternoon after being tipped off that they would be traveling in Kunar province, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement to reporters. The policemen from Nuristan province had just finished their training to join the Afghan National Police, he said.

Gen. Khalilullah Ziayi, the Kunar provincial police chief, confirmed that militants stopped four vehicles in Chapa Dara district and captured several dozen men. He did not know the exact number and said it was unclear whether all were members of the Afghan National Police or prospective recruits.

In the past, the Taliban have apprehended other policemen in Nuristan and other parts of the country but then released them if they promised not to work with the police or the Afghan government, Mr. Mujahid said. This time, top Taliban military commanders in eastern Afghanistan will decide the policemen’s fate after assessing the situation on the ground, he said.

At a news conference in Kabul, the capital, Lutfullah Mashal, a spokesman for the Afghan intelligence service, said security officials have arrested seven militants who were planning to conduct attacks last Monday in conjunction with Afghan new year’s celebrations. He said all seven of the militants, including three teenagers suspected of being would-be suicide bombers, are linked with the Haqqani network, which is affiliated with al Qaeda.

“The plan was to carry out suicide attacks against security forces, officials and civilians at a shrine west of Kabul,” Mr. Mashal said. “Fortunately, security forces arrested them, and they were not able to carry out their attacks on the new year.”

Mr. Mashal also said that intelligence officials have arrested two brothers involved in a suicide bombing last month that killed one intelligence service officer and wounded more than two dozen other people in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province. The two also are suspected of orchestrating a January suicide bombing in a bathhouse in Spin Boldak that killed 17 people, he said.

In addition, Mr. Mashal said intelligence agents in Wardak province recently seized a truck loaded with explosives bound for Kabul. They captured 10 suicide vests, 1,650 pounds of explosives, 648 remote-controlled devices for bombs and 1,000 yards of detonation wire.

“They wanted to make about 500 bombs out of these explosives,” he said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide