KABUL (Pajhwok): The spy service on Monday claimed Friday’s assassination attempt on presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah was planned in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar, but insufficient coordination between security forces and the candidate’s security teams also contributed to its execution.
Abdullah addressed a campaign rally at a hotel in west of Kabul on Friday and when his motorcade left the venue it was struck by a car suicide bomber and a landmine blast.
A dozen people, including three campaigners for Abdullah, were killed and 40 others were injured in the attack, but Abdullah was unhurt.
Abdullah later told a separate political gathering at the Pearl Continental Hotel that one of the blasts occurred in front of his and Dr. Zalmai Rassoul’s vehicles.
Rassoul, a former foreign minister, who finished third in the previous round of presidential election, had joined forces with Abdullah.
National Directorate of Security (NDS) spokesman Abdul Hasib Sediqi told reporters in Kabul that initial investigations showed a Pakistan-based militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), had hand in the attack. LeT carries out its activities in Indian-administered Kashmir.
He said the attack had been planned in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The NDS spokesman said there were also some loopholes in coordination between Abdullah’s security team and security organs, but that problem had been resolved.
Pakistan on Monday condemned the attack on Abdullah’s convoy and rejected allegations about its involvement in the twin blasts.
“We firmly reject any insinuation of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack on presidential candidate Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s convoy and allegations of seeking to disrupt elections in Afghanistan,” Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul said in a statement.
President Hamid Karzai had directed security organs to conduct a thoroughgoing probe into the attack.
The NDS spokesman said there were security threats to both the frontrunners but security forces had averted them.
Under a special intelligence programme of the spy service, teams of both the runners would remain in contact with security forces, the official said.
The NDS has devised strict security measures and plans jointly with police and the army as part of its election security strategy, Sediqi said.
He said the insurgents tasted a historic defeat in the previous elections for being unable to execute most of their planned destructive activities and they would meet the same fate next time.