Breaking News Bar
updated: 12/8/2012 3:57 PM

Karzai: Afghan spy chief bomber came from Pakistan

Success - Article sent! close
  • Afghan president Hamid Karzai gestures during a press conference Saturday at the presidential palace in Kabul Afghanistan.

      Afghan president Hamid Karzai gestures during a press conference Saturday at the presidential palace in Kabul Afghanistan.
    Associated Press

Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that the recent assassination attempt on the country's intelligence chief was planned in Pakistan, but vowed it would not stop him from seeking Islamabad's help in coaxing militants to the negotiating table.

The attack, carried out by a suicide bomber posing as a peace messenger, severely wounded Asadullah Khalid, dealing a setback to fragile efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and find a political resolution to the war in Afghanistan, now in its 12th year.

Order Reprint Print Article
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Karzai did not provide any evidence to back up his claim that the attack on Khalid was organized in Pakistan, and he was careful not to accuse Islamabad of having any role in Thursday's suicide blast. But he stressed that he would raise the issue with high-ranking Pakistani officials.

"We will be seeking a lot of clarifications from Pakistan because we know that this man who came there in the name of a guest to meet with Asudullah Khalid came from Pakistan," Karzai said. "We know that for a fact."

The Pakistani foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that the Afghan government should share information or evidence it might have about the attack before it starts leveling charges. The ministry also offered to help the Afghan government investigate any lapses it had in the intelligence chief's security.

"Pakistan is ready to assist any investigation of this criminal act," it said.

Karzai said Khalid, the head of the National Directorate of Security, was recovering from wounds to his torso and lower body after the bomber detonated explosives that he had hidden inside his body. The Afghan intelligence agency said earlier that the explosives were hidden in the bomber's underwear.

Karzai described the attack as "a very sophisticated and complicated act by a professional intelligence service."

"Where is this intelligence service? Is it in our neighborhood, or somewhere else? We need to find out," he said.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on Khalid -- the fifth attempt on his life in as many years.

The blast was reminiscent of the September 2011 assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who at the time was the leader of a government-appointed peace council. In that attack, an insurgent posing as a Taliban peace envoy detonated a bomb hidden in his turban as he met Rabbani at his Kabul home. Afghan officials have said that the Rabbani killing was planned in the Pakistani city of Quetta.

Pakistan is seen as a key player in the Afghan peace process. Islamabad has ties to the Taliban that date back to the 1990s, and many of the group's leaders are believed to be detained or living on Pakistani territory.

Despite his claims that the attack was planned in Pakistan, Karzai said it would not deter him from pursuing dialogue with the country. He also reiterated his request for Islamabad to release Afghan Taliban figures who have expressed an interest in reconciliation with his government.

Karzai said it was the third attack on key Afghan figures that came since his government appeared to be gaining traction on peace efforts.

In July 2011, Karzai's half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was gunned down by a close associate in Kandahar, the largest Afghan city in the south.

Pakistan helped the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan in the 1990s, providing funding, weapons and intelligence, and the Afghan government and the U.S. have accused Islamabad of continuing to support the group. Pakistan has denied the allegations, but many analysts believe the country continues to see the Taliban as an important ally in Afghanistan to counter archenemy India.

The U.S. and its allies fighting in Afghanistan are pushing to strike a peace deal with the Taliban as international combat troops wind down their campaign by the end of 2014. But obstacles remain, and it is unclear whether the Taliban even intend to take part in the process, rather than just wait until foreign forces withdraw.

With the 2014 deadline looming and security in the country still elusive, the U.S. and Afghanistan are negotiating a bilateral security agreement will set up a legal framework needed to continue to operate American forces in Afghanistan after that date.

Karzai said Kabul would be willing to consider giving immunity to U.S. troops who stay past 2014, but not until the U.S. guarantees respect for Afghanistan's sovereignty.

"But before I do that, I must make sure that the United States of America respects Afghan sovereignty, that it does not take prisoners in Afghanistan, that it does not keep prisons in Afghanistan in violation of the agreements with us, that it does not violate Afghan homes, (and) that there is no bombardment of Afghan villages and homes," he said.

In other developments, two civilians were killed when a roadside mine exploded Saturday in Bak district of eastern Khost province. The provincial governor's office said five other civilians and four Afghan soldiers were wounded in the mid-day blast that occurred during the soldiers' foot patrol.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.