Afghan spy agency says ISI planned attack on parliament

  • Rezaul H Laskar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 25, 2015 01:24 IST

The Afghan spy service on Wednesday said the brazen terrorist attack on the parliament in Kabul was carried out by the Haqqani Network in line with a plan finalised by an officer of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

National Directorate of Security (NDS) spokesman Abdul Haseeb Siddiqui told the Pajhwok Afghan News agency that the attack was "jointly designed by Maulvi Sherin, the Haqqani Network’s operational commander, and the ISI officer Bilal" in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Siddiqui said the ISI officer, identified only as Bilal, belongs to the Zakhil tribe and "maintained close and direct links with militants in the Tirah valley of Khyber Agency", one of Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal districts bordering Afghanistan.

He added 7.5 million Pakistani rupees had been set aside for Monday's attack on the Afghan parliament.

The NDS had dispatched prior information to the ministries of defence and interior about the possibility of such an attack, Siddiqui said. Additional troops had been deployed in the vicinity of the parliament to foil the attack and Essa Khan, a soldier who eliminated six of the attackers, had been part of the reinforcements.

The seven attackers involved in Monday's assault had triggered several explosions and tried to storm the lower house of parliament at a time when the new defence minister, Masoom Stanekzai, was being introduced for a vote of confidence.

All the attackers, including a suicide bomber, were killed. Two civilians died and 31 others were injured in the attack. This was the latest in a string of brazen attacks in the Afghan capital since the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive in April.

However, the Afghan Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.

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