The Afghan intelligence service has broken up a cell of suicide bombers allegedly responsible for six attacks in Kabul that killed 20 civilians.
Agents arrested 17 people who were involved in the suicide attacks in the capital over the last two years, said Sayed Ansari, the spokesman for the National Directorate of Security. Three others are still on the run and believed to be in Pakistan, he said.
The breakthrough came following an attack outside a US military base in Kabul on January 17, when a suicide bomber killed four Afghan civilians and a US soldier, Ansari said.
Those arrested had links to a Pakistani-based jihadist group, Harakat ul-Mujahedeen, and Sirajjudin Haqqani, an insurgent leader in Afghanistan, he said.
Harakat ul-Mujahedeen has in the past acted as a proxy for the Pakistani military against India over the disputed state of Kashmir, but have more recently sided with Taliban-style tribal militants to fight Pakistani security forces in the border regions. Haqqani, meanwhile, leads a group of fighters battling American troops in eastern Afghanistan.