KABUL: Afghanistan’s defense minister has confirmed that a police captain was connected with the group behind the assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai a week earlier and that an army officer supplied the weapons and ammunition used in the attack. Both men have been arrested and are under investigation for their suspected role in the attack on the military parade, which killed three people, including a member of Parliament, and wounded 11. One of the suspects may have been a sympathizer, and the other was probably motivated by money, Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said.
Afghanistan’s intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh, blamed Al Qaeda for the attack. He said three of the men involved were in contact with people outside Afghanistan, including people in Miram Shah, a town in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan, the main base for Taliban and Al Qaeda in the region. The three, who were killed in a house raid Wednesday, include an Afghan named Homayoun, suspected of directing an attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul in January, and two foreigners who were planning suicide bombings in the city.
“That was the angle of Al Qaeda involvement,” the intelligence chief said. “It is very clear to us.” Western military officials here have said the assassination attempt, coming after the coordinated attack on the Serena Hotel, indicates a growing ambition and sophistication on the part of those planning and carrying out such attacks.
Mr. Wardak, the defense minister, said that security officials needed to keep investigating how and when the group of three gunmen who fired on the military parade managed to bring weapons into their hotel room and that they still needed to question members of the presidential guard who were responsible for the security of the area for the 24 hours before the parade.
The arrested police captain, named Zalmai, is a trained nurse and was in touch with Mr. Homayoun, the mastermind of the attack, Mr. Wardak said. He said the arrested army officer, named Jawed, was known by his nickname, Taleb Shah, and worked in the military’s weapons maintenance department, repairing weapons and refurbishing ones surrendered under the national disarmament program.
Two assault rifles used in the attack appeared to be from army stocks, while the machine gun was not, Mr. Wardak said. The arrested army officer admitted that he had provided the machine gun from his personal collection, Mr. Wardak said.-SANA