Afghan Forces Thwart Attack on Kabul

Posted August 2nd, 2012 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Authorities say security forces have thwarted a major attack on the Afghan capital, after killing five insurgents in an early morning gunbattle.

Intelligence agency spokesman Latifullah Mashal said Afghan forces Thursday raided a compound in eastern Kabul, where the insurgents linked to the militant Haqqani network had gathered to prepare for an attack. He said the militants were killed in an ensuing gunfight that lasted more than five hours. Earlier, officials had put the death toll higher.

Mashal said the men planned to launch suicide attacks in Kabul disguised in burqas. Authorities found maps pinpointing the targets, as well as three vehicles packed with explosives, suicide vests and rocket-propelled grenades.

The al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network has been blamed for a number of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan. During an 18-hour coordinated attack on April 15 of this year, militants took up positions in high-rise buildings in Kabul and fired on foreign embassies and government offices.

Also Thursday, NATO said two of its coalition service members were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan. It did not release any further details about the attack or the identities of the soldiers.

And Afghanistan's top anti-corruption chief said Thursday that the country's finance minister, Omar Zakhilwal, will be investigated after large amounts of money were found to be deposited in his accounts in overseas banks.

Afghan television channel, Tolo, showed what it said were Zakhilwal's bank statements with more than $1 million in deposits between 2007 and 2011. The finance minister denies any wrongdoing, telling reporters he has many sources of income, including from his time as professor in Canada.