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Pakistan rejects ‘disturbing’ Afghan attack claims Afghan police detain 9 workers of security company

 ISLAMABAD, March 25, (Agencies): Pakistan on Monday said it was “highly disturbing” to see attempts being made to implicate it in an attack on a Kabul hotel that left nine civilians dead, including an AFP journalist. Afghanistan said on Sunday that the attack on Kabul’s Hotel Serena was planned “outside the country”, in a veiled reference to Pakistan. The National Security Council (NSC), which is chaired by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, also alleged that a Pakistani diplomat was seen scoping out the corridors of the Serena hotel ahead of the Thursday night raid. “It is highly disturbing that attempts are being made to somehow implicate Pakistan in this terrorist incident. We reject the insinuation,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said in a statement. “The tendency to immediately blame Pakistan is unhelpful and should be discarded.” She said Pakistan has already condemned the attack, which claimed many innocent lives. “A Pakistani national has also sustained serious injuries and remains under treatment,” she added. Pakistan was the main supporter of the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and Afghan officials have long voiced suspicions about connections between the hardline movement and Islamabad’s powerful intelligence services.

The NSC said the attack on the hotel, which was carried out by four teenage gunmen and claimed by the Taliban, was in fact the work of “foreign intelligence services” — a phrase normally meant to mean neighbouring Pakistan. Meanwhile, Afghan police have detained nine senior employees of a private security company that provided guards to the Kabul hotel attacked by the Taliban last week. The interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the company employed by the Serena Hotel was negligent, which enabled the four attackers to hide small handguns in their shoes and avoid detection to enter the premises. The gunmen opened fire inside the hotel restaurant, killing nine people, including two children and four foreigners. The attackers were killed by police. The attack was particularly shocking because the luxury hotel had long been considered one of the safest places to stay in Kabul.

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