Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh targeted in Kabul, Haqqani network is prime suspect
The attack on Saleh, a former Northern Alliance leader, comes on the death anniversary of fellow Tajik leader Ahmad Shah Massoud. Massoud was assassinated two days before the twin towers went down in the US.Updated: Sep 09, 2020 11:59 IST
Two days after Afghanistan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh raised the issue of Durand Line and talked about Peshawar as summer capital of Islamic Republic, the former intelligence chief was target of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in Kabul that left three of his bodyguards injured, many bystanders killed or maimed in the explosion.
The device was placed under a culvert over which Saleh’s cavalcade was passing en-route to the Vice President’s office. The IED was so powerful that gas cylinders in nearby shops exploded due to concussion. There are unconfirmed reports that 15 people were killed and 50 others were injured in the attack. Saleh, intelligence reports confirm, is safe.
In a video message released after the attack, Saleh said that the attack took place at 7.30 am, when he was on his way to work. The place where the suicide attack took place was narrow, he said, thanking the swift action of the securitymen present there.
Saleh, a former intelligence chief, has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year that killed 20 people.
The attack on Saleh comes at a time when the ultra-conservative Sunni Pashtun outfit Taliban is planning to hold intra-Afghan negotiations in Qatar with the support of US.
“No Afghan politician of national stature can overlook the issue of Durand Line. It will condemn him or her in life & after life. It is an issue which needs discussions & resolution. Expecting us to gift it for free is un-realistic. Peshawar used to be the winter capital of Afg,” he said in a tweet on September 7.
According to diplomats base in Kabul and New Delhi, the needle of suspicion for the attack on Saleh is towards the Haqqani network as the Zadran tribe, which is affliated to the global terrorist group, has a hold on Kabul city with the perpetrators of attack this morning based in Pakistan. Sirajjudin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani network, is deputy leader and sword arm of Taliban.
While the decision of the US to withdraw after nearly two decades of active involvement in Afghanistan is well respected all around, its decision to foist the Taliban on the political and constitutional system by unilateral moves which are required to be honoured and accommodated by Kabul is causing much concern all around the region.
Incidents such as these once again bring to fore that contrary to their public protestations, neither the outfit nor its sponsors-in-uniform in Pakistan are in the mood for any accommodation.
The Taliban have not sent their delegation to Qatar for talks, they are seeking the release of Haji Bashir Noorzai, an Afghan drug lord who was arrested in 2005. Keen to make the Taliban sit with the Afghanistan’s government, the US is looking to entertain this request to release Noorzai and other Taliban detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
“I think the TBN will not start talks in Doha till the release of Haji B Noorzai. According to the attached article, Dr Khalilzad guaranteed his release. Considering the timing, perhaps Haji Bashar might be released this week. Now the TBN have no incentive to reduce violence,” Afghan politician Rahmatullah Nabil said on Twitter.
He added that all the key bargaining chips have been given away by Zal, in order to promote himself.