Friday, November 23, 2012

Afghan police say Shiite attack thwarted

KABUL  – Afghan police said Friday they had arrested two suicide bombers planning to attack Shiite Muslims in Kabul on the anniversary of the massacre of 80 worshippers on Ashura last year.

The heavily-fortified capital is under heightened security ahead of the anniversary, with all police leave cancelled.

“Two suicide bombers with four suicide vests were arrested by Afghan police forces in Surobi district” east of Kabul, the interior ministry’s criminal investigation chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi told AFP.

“They wanted to attack crowded parts of the Ashura procession in Kabul city, and they have confessed to their crimes.”

Rahimi said the two men were members of the Taliban, the hardline Islamist group leading a bloody insurgency against the government of President Hamid Karzai, which is backed by around 100,000 NATO troops.

On Ashura last year, which fell on December 6, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of a crowd of worshippers at the main Shiite shrine in Kabul, killing 80, including women and children.

Afghan officials blamed that bombing — the first major sectarian attack on a key religious day in Afghanistan — on Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

A powerful image of a girl dressed in green screaming in fear among the dead moments after the blast won AFP photographer Massoud Hossaini a US Pulitzer prize.

When the Sunni Muslim Taliban ruled in the 1990s before being ousted by a US-led invasion in 2001, minority Shiites suffered brutal persecution, but sectarian violence has been rare in recent years.

Shiites, who make up roughly 20 percent of the Afghan population, were effectively banned from marking Ashura in public under the Taliban.

Ashura marks the killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the prophet Mohammad, near Karbala by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD.

During the 10-day Ashura ceremonies, which end on Saturday this year, Shiites whip their bare backs as part of traditional mourning rituals.

“Around 16,000 Afghan police are on the highest state of alert for Ashura,” Kabul crime branch chief, General Mohammad Zahir, told AFP.

“We have cancelled all leave of Afghan police forces for Saturday — to ensure security for citizens.”

Security forces have intensified vehicle checks and are searching people coming into the capital ahead of Ashura to prevent any attacks, Zahir said.

from onepakistan


By Sajad - Fri Nov 23, 6:35 pm

Afghan police forces arrested two suspected suicide bombers before they manage to detonate their explosives among the participants of the Ashura in capital Kabul.

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi the two suicide bombers were arrested on Thursday night along with 4 suicide bombing vests in Sarobi district.

Mr. Sediqi further added destructive explosive materials were planted inside the 4 suicide bombing vests.

This comes as more than 80 people were killed or injured following a suicide bomb blast in a shrine in capital Kabul last year.

A militant group based in Pakistan which has carried out similar attacks inside the Pakistani territory claimed responsibility behind the attack.

In the meantime Afghan president Hamid Karzai met with the Shi’ite clerics in capital Kabul and called on them to take necessary measures in order to prevent similar incident that happened last year.

Afghan security officials also said they have taken necessary measures for the security of the participants of Ashura across the country.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi said the two suspected suicide bombers were recognized as Barialai and Khadol and they were looking to detonate their explosives among the participants of Ashura in Kabul city.

He also said the two suspected suicide bombers are expert in making suicide bombing vests and are involved in major suicide bombing attacks in Kabul.

According to preliminary investigations the two suspected bombers belong to Taliban militants group, Sediq Sediq said.
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