KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb 3, (Agencies): The discovery of an Islamic State hideout filled with explosives and suicide vests in a poor Kabul neighborhood reflects the failure of Afghanistan’s corruption-wracked government to protect the capital, analysts and residents said Friday.
This week’s revelation that militants were operating in Kabul’s western Qala-e- Wahid district follows a recent series of horrific attacks in the heavily guarded city that killed nearly 200 people and wounded hundreds more, including foreigners.
Security forces were led to the safe house by an insurgent who was captured during an attack Monday by IS militants on a military academy in Kabul in which 11 soldiers died, according to an intelligence official.
From behind the 10-foot green metal doors, the insurgents were plotting to use the explosives, weapons and suicide vests in three more large attacks in Kabul, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with his agency’s rules and did not elaborate on the plans.
Khan Mohammed, a resident of Qala-e-Wahid, told the AP that locals rarely see a police patrol in the neighborhood and stay at home after dark because of marauding gangs of thieves. They say the government can’t provide security. “It is dangerous for all the people of Qala-e-Wahid that DAESH was here, but they came here because it is an insecure area,”
Mohammed said, using the Arabic acronym for the extremist group. “For DAESH, this was the perfect area because you can bring everything here from anywhere,” added Mohammed, whose home is across the lane from the IS hideout. Political analyst Haroon Mir blamed widespread corruption throughout the government and the security forces for their inability to prevent the recent deadly attacks in Kabul, which included a siege at a luxury hotel and a car bomb packed inside an ambulance.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday accused neighbouring Pakistan of failing to move against the Taleban and pledged a new security plan for Kabul after hundreds of people were killed and wounded in two deadly attacks on the capital last month. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of aiding terrorists by giving shelter and aid to leaders of the Taleban insurgency, a charge denied by Pakistan, which points to the thousands of its own citizens killed by militant violence over the years. “We are waiting for Pakistan to act,” Ghani said in a televised address after weekly prayers, in which he accused Pakistan of being the “Taleban centre”.
A recent attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a suicide bombing on a crowded city street a week later have stoked public anger in Afghanistan and stepped up pressure on Ghani’s Western-backed government to improve security. The attacks, which killed more than 130 people and wounded hundreds more, were claimed by the Taleban, which is fighting to drive out international troops and re-establish its form of strict Islamic law in Afghanistan. Afghan and US officials say the Haqqani network, a militant group affiliated with the Taleban and believed to be based in Pakistan, was responsible.