July 31, 2011 in Nation/World

Afghan arrests highlight threat of infiltration

Official accused of working with Taliban
Rahim Faiez Associated Press
 

KABUL, Afghanistan – A senior Defense Ministry official who allegedly leaked secrets that helped the Taliban stage suicide attacks in Kabul has been arrested by the Afghan Intelligence Service – one of three high profile arrests announced Saturday by the agency.

A spokesman said also arrested were a senior Taliban official accused of leading an insurgent propaganda campaign in eastern Afghanistan and an insurgent who allegedly helped organize an April 1 attack against the U.N. headquarters in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif that killed 11 people, including seven foreign U.N. employees.

Infiltration has become a serious concern for Afghan forces and the U.S.-led military alliance that is training them – often on bases they share. The Taliban have said the practice has become one of their main strategies in their war against the U.S.-led coalition and President Hamid Karzai’s government.

Several attacks involving bombers wearing military uniforms have targeted foreign troops as well as official Afghan institutions, including an April suicide bombing by an attacker wearing an army uniform that killed three people at the Defense Ministry.

The intelligence service recently arrested Gul Mohammad, an army officer who was serving at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Kabul, the agency’s spokesman Lutifullah Mashal said at a news conference.

Mohammad, who was an eight-year veteran of the army, was in charge of three checkpoints in the capital – one near NATO headquarters and the presidential palace, and two others on a road where the coalition has many bases and training facilities.

Mashal said insurgents offered Mohammad $2,300 to help organize suicide attacks in Kabul. Many of the suicide bombers operating inside Afghanistan are thought to be trained in Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions, which border provinces such as Nuristan and Nangarhar.

Mashal did not give Mohammad’s rank or provide any other details about his role at the ministry but did say he was from the Taliban-controlled Waygal district in northeastern Nuristan province. Mashal said Mohammad is also thought to have supplied insurgents in the area with information on Afghan army troop movements.

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