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Pakistan ready to assist Kabul in spy chief attack probe: FO

December 09, 2012

Afghan president Hamid Karzai gestures during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. Karzai said Saturday that Thursday's assassination attempt on the country's intelligence chief was planned in neighboring Pakistan but he did not provide any evidence to back up his claim, and was careful not to accuse the Pakistani government of having any role in the suicide attack.— Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office hit back on Saturday at President Hamid Karzai’s allegation that attack on the Afghan intelligence chief was planned in Pakistan, asking him to share proof before pointing fingers.

“Before levelling charges the Afghan government would do well if they shared information or evidence with the government of Pakistan that they might have with regard to the cowardly attack on the head of NDS,” the FO spokesman said.

Asadullah Khalid, chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), was critically injured when a suicide bomber posing as a Taliban emissary blew himself up at a guest house in Kabul during a meeting with him on Thursday.

President Hamid Karzai told newsmen in Kabul earlier during the day that the attacker had come from Quetta and that he would take up the issue with the Pakistani authorities.

Mr Karzai did not directly accuse the ISI, but said “the attack was a very sophisticated and complicated act by a professional intelligence service”.

The spokesman added the Pakistan government was ready to assist in any investigation into this criminal act. Pakistan had earlier condemned the attack on Mr Khalid.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him. We hope for his early recovery,” the FO had said in the condemnation message.

The Foreign Office spokesman expressed fears that the goodwill created by steps taken by Pakistan to assist in the reconciliation process would be lost because of the incident. He, however, added that the Pakistan government remained committed to supporting the peace process.

The Foreign Office asked Mr Karzai to find out how the bomber managed to get so close to the intelligence chief, implying that there was a security failure on part of the Afghan authorities.

“They would also do well by ordering an investigation into any lapses in the security arrangements around the NDS chief.”

Agencies add: Mr Karzai said the issue would be discussed next week with Pakistani officials during a meeting between the foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey in Ankara.

“This is a very important issue for us and we hope that the Pakistan government in this regard gives us accurate information and cooperates seriously, so the doubts we have end,” he said.

Karzai said contacts with Pakistan would continue.

The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement, the Taliban named the attacker as “hero mujahid Hafiz Mohammad”.

Mr Khalid is being treated at a US-run military hospital at Bagram airbase, outside Kabul, where he is in a stable condition, security sources have said.

On Friday, the NDS said that he was “recovering” and in a “satisfactory” condition.

About the attempt on Mr Khalid’s life, the intelligence agency said investigators found that “the organisers of this suicide attack... skillfully placed the explosives in the underpants of the suicide attacker”.