KABUL, Afghanistan – Security forces have arrested a Tajik suspected of organizing the deadly car-bombing of a U.S. security firm in the Afghan capital and believe he was acting on the orders of al Qaeda, an Afghan official said Saturday.
The suspect, Mohammed Haidar, confessed to his leading role in the Aug. 29 car-bomb attack, which killed about 10 people, including three Americans, Afghan state television reported.
A spokesman for the Afghan intelligence service, Mohammed Nader, said the report was accurate but declined to discuss the details.
Haidar also admitted organizing an Oct. 23 suicide attack on a Kabul shopping street that killed an American woman and an Afghan child, the TV report said. The attack was allegedly carried out by a Kashmiri militant.
American military officials say al Qaeda cells could still be operating in several Afghan cities, three years after U.S. forces entered Afghanistan to pursue members of Osama bin Laden’s organization in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
U.S. and Afghan forces killed nine people and detained at least 18 others in a monthlong sweep against al Qaeda suspects late last year, and one American general has suggested the Kabul car-bomb was the work of a militant group with links to the radical Islamic network.
It was unclear when Haidar, a bearded man of about 30 shown briefly during the evening news, was detained.
The report said Haidar told investigators that he had traveled to the Pakistani city of Peshawar to meet an alleged al Qaeda member called Attaullah who gave him the instructions to carry out the attacks.
Attaullah supposedly paid Haidar $7,000 to buy a car and explosives, the report said. It didn’t say when the meeting supposedly took place.