Al-Qaeda militants coming from Iraq: Afghanistan

Afghan provinicial governor said this after probing an Iraqi suspect who was caught sneaking across the country's western border.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 08:39 IST

Al-Qaeda has sent several fighters from Iraq to join insurgents in Afghanistan, a provincial governor said.

The governor said this after interrogating an Iraqi suspect who was caught sneaking across the country's western border.

The warning added substance to suspicions that militants in Afghanistan are emulating the rebellion in Iraq with a wave of suicide attacks -- the latest, a bomber dressed in women's clothes who killed five Afghans at an army checkpoint.

"There is a big group coming from Iraq," said Ghulam Dusthaqir Azad, the governor of the southwestern province of Nimroz. "They're linked to Al-Qaeda and fought against US forces in Iraq. They have been ordered to come here. Many are suicide attackers."

It was not immediately possible to confirm the information with Afghan officials in the capital, Kabul. A spokesman for the US military, Lt Mike Cody, said, "We don't discuss detainees or intelligence matters."

An international donors conference in London ended Wednesday with $10.5 billion in new aid pledged for Afghanistan -- much of it for improving security after the deadliest year in militant violence since the Taliban was ousted in 2001.

Though the US military says it doesn't have evidence of direct links between the rebellions in Afghanistan and Iraq, Afghan officials have long suspected Arab militants were involved in the fighting here.

There have been 21 suicide bombings in the past four months, many of which were blamed on foreigners.

First Published: Feb 03, 2006 08:39 IST