Taliban and Pakistan Behind Afghan Suicide Bombings
Carlotta Gall reports that exiled Taliban government, with the cooperation of Pakistan, are behind suicide bombings in Afghanistan.
Arrests and interrogations of suspects in a recent series of suicide bombings in Afghanistan show that the attacks have been orchestrated from Pakistan by members of the ousted Taliban government with little interference by the Pakistani authorities, Afghan officials say. In taped interviews by an Afghan interrogator, two Afghans and three Pakistanis who were among 21 people arrested in recent weeks described their roles in the attacks, which have killed at least 70 people in the last three months, most of them Afghan civilians but also international peacekeepers, a Canadian diplomat and a dozen Afghan police officers and soldiers.
In the tape, the men described a fairly low-budget network that begins with the recruitment of young bombers in the sprawling Pakistani port city of Karachi. The bombers are moved to safe houses in the border towns of Quetta and Chaman, and then transferred into Afghanistan, where they are provided with cars and explosives and sent out to find a target. The tape appears to confirm Afghan officials’ suspicions that the suicide bombings, which are largely a recent phenomenon in Afghanistan, were generated outside Afghanistan, and in particular from neighboring Pakistan. It was shown to The New York Times by an Afghan official who asked not to be identified because of the diplomatic implications of the contents.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, dismissed the claims of the Afghan government. “This is a propaganda campaign of the government,” he said by satellite telephone from an unknown location. “Our mujahedeen don’t send one group to one area so they can be found and arrested. Our mujahedeen send different people to different areas at different times.” He added that there was no need to recruit Pakistanis for the attacks. “They are all Afghans,” he said of the suicide bombers.
But Afghan officials said the confessions provided the proof they needed to demand action from Pakistan. “I think there is a factory for these bombers,” said Asadullah Khaled, the governor of Kandahar Province, where 15 attacks have occurred in the last three months.
It appears General Whatsisname (Pervez Musharraf) is cooperating even less than we thought in the war on terrorism.