Two men arrested in Afghan bomb plot

Published: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 9:44 p.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S. Special Forces and Afghan intelligence agents arrested three men Thursday and seized explosive material, uncovering an alleged plot to bomb U.S. and international targets.
The men were arrested in a predawn operation at an undisclosed location in the Afghan capital, where authorities found makeshift bomb-making equipment and explosives, said Col. Roger King, a spokesman for the U.S. military at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul.
"They were trying to blow up a U.S. or coalition facility in Kabul," King said. It was not clear which terrorist group, if any, the men were working with, he added.
Separately, there were reports Thursday of grenade attacks at opposite ends of the country, both directed at international groups. No injuries were reported.
One grenade was hurled earlier this week toward the French charity Action Contre la Faim in southern Kandahar. There were no injuries, according to a foreign aid worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The second attack was directed at a U.N. compound in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said Thursday. A grenade hit the roof and exploded, he said.
International forces have been the target of attacks in recent weeks in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.
On Wednesday, U.S. Special Forces detained two men suspected of making bombs near the eastern Afghan town of Jalalabad.
In December, a hand grenade was hurled at U.S. Special Forces as they drove through Kabul, injuring the two men and their translator. Days later, a suicide bomber blew himself up in an assault on the international peacekeepers, killing two Afghan staff members and injuring two French aid workers.
Former Interior Minister Taj Mohammed Wardak said earlier this month a suspect in December's grenade attack admitted receiving training at a camp inside Afghanistan, along the border with Pakistan. The report is an indication fugitive Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists continue operating training camps despite efforts by U.S.-led coalition forces and their Afghan allies to eliminate them.
U.S. forces in southeastern Afghanistan this week fought their largest battle in nearly a year against a contingent of rebel fighters. The military says the attacks and firefights show the war in Afghanistan is not over.
Taliban, al-Qaida and loyalists of renegade leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar are dug in the mountains along the porous border with Pakistan, and have vowed to resist the U.S. presence.
There have been increasing reports of renewed training of militants both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These reports, backed in interviews by The Associated Press with men who have undergone the training, have coincided with the increase in attacks and uncovered plots.
Last November, an Iraqi identified as Akram Taufiq Muramy was arrested in Kabul. He reportedly confessed he wanted to kill President Hamid Karzai.
Earlier this month two men were arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum.

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