KABUL, Feb 2: Several Al Qaeda militants are coming from Iraq to take part in the insurgency in Afghanistan; a provincial governor said on Thursday after interrogating an Iraqi caught sneaking into the country illegally.

The warning came amid an upsurge in suicide attacks, with the latest involving a bomber dressed as a woman who killed five Afghans at an army checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan.

More militants were expected to be trying to enter the country, said Ghulam Dusthaqir Azad, the governor of the south-western province of Nimroz. He made the comment after interrogating an alleged Iraqi member of Al Qaeda caught while sneaking into the country.

“There is a big group coming from Iraq,” Azad said in a satellite telephone interview with the Associated Press. “They’re linked to Al Qaeda and have fought against US forces in Iraq. They have been ordered to come here. Many are suicide attackers.”

It was not immediately possible to confirm the information from officials in Kabul. The defence minister and a spokesman for the Interior Ministry did not answer their phones.

A spokesman for the US military, Lt-Mike Cody, said: “We don’t discuss detainees or intelligence matters.”

Rise in suicide attacks in recent months has fuelled suspicion that militants could be copying tactics of insurgents in Iraq. —AP

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