Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said on Sunday that a senior commander from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sold a suicide bomber to an Afghan militant network to attack a local commander in eastern Afghanistan.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s official intelligence agency, said the bomber was a Pakistani national and was detained by NDS agents in Jaji Maidan district of Afghanistan’s eastern Paktia province before he could carry out his mission.
Sher Hassan was sent by the Haqqani network, considered one of the most dangerous insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan, but had not signed up to join them, the NDS said in a statement. Instead, he said he was bought by the group to target “Azizullah”, a commander whose affiliation and rank were not given by the NDS. Hassan then spent a month after he was sold, training with the Haqqani network.
“The detained man added that a commander under TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud sells suicide bombers at Rs6 million to Rs8 million to the Haqqani network for suicide missions,” the statement said. But it did not say what price Hassan had fetched nor how he had been detained.
The Haqqani network, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, is allied with the Taliban but also believed to be closely linked to al Qaeda and the architect of several high-profile attacks in Afghanistan.
Effective daily management of the group has passed from Jalaluddin Haqqani, who forged his reputation fighting the Soviet occupation of the 1980s but is now thought to be ill, to his eldest son Sirajuddin.
Hassan’s detention comes days after a group of
suicide bombers staged a brazen attack on a landmark hotel in Kabul that killed at least 10 people.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2011.