Kabul Blames Haqqani Network, Pakistan for Parliament Attackhttp://www.voanews.com/content/kabul-bl ... 36385.html
June 25, 2015 12:37 AM
ISLAMABAD— Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has blamed Monday’s attack on the Afghan parliament on the Haqqani network as well as an officer of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI.
Thirty people, including five women and three children, were wounded when at least seven Taliban gunmen with explosives and suicide vests had stormed the parliament building.
Hasib Sediqi, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, said preliminary investigations indicate the attack had been hatched in Pakistan’s city of Peshawar by a Haqqani operational commander, Maulvi Sherin.
Sediqi said the attack by the Haqqani group was organized with "major support" from an ISI officer named "Bilal." He also said the attackers were provided seven and a half million Pakistani rupees to plan and execute the attack on the Afghan legislative body.
According to Pajhwok Afghan News, Bilal, whom Sediqi claims is from the Zakhil tribe, maintained close links with militants in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, part of the restive tribal areas in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.
The allegation may put a strain on the delicate relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s unity government. The two sides have made visible efforts to improve their ties and to end what President Ashraf Ghani said was “an undeclared war” during the Hamid Karzai era. A trust deficit between the two countries has made this an uphill battle. President Ghani has come under fire politically for leaning towards Pakistan.
Pakistan has promised Afghanistan it will go after any militants who attack Afghanistan. “Afghanistan’s enemies are Pakistan’s enemies,” Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership has declared. But many Afghans say words are not enough.
“Any time the Haqqani network is implicated in any attack, the responsibility to prove this allegation wrong will rest on Pakistan’s government because of the close ties that have existed between the Haqqanis and the ISI in the past,” according to Omar Samad, a former ambassador and currently an adviser to Afghanistan’s CEO, Abdullah Abdullah.
Samad added that Afghanistan or its allies did not have “any proof yet that the Haqqanis have been dismantled” or that there is any change in their location or their leadership structure.
Meanwhile, Pakistan claims that it is trying to facilitate peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz testified this week before the foreign affairs committee of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, that Islamabad had arranged a secret meeting last month between Afghan peace negotiators and members of the Islamist group in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi.
The Afghan Taliban downplayed the meeting as “personal infractions” not authorized by the group.
The NDS spokesman also alleged Pakistan’s help in two previous attempts to attack the parliament that he said had been foiled by the NDS.