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DOZENS KILLED IN JALALABAD BANK ATTACK

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Dozens were killed and 70 others wounded, including police chiefs, on Saturday 02/19/2011, in an attack claimed by the Taliban on a bank in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan. 

Police collecting their salaries were among the dead and Alishah Paktyamwal, police chief of Nangarhar province where Jalalabad is located, plus his deputy were wounded in the attack (see also – Nangarhar 11.29.10 ). 

The incident is the latest to target police in Afghanistan, who alongside the army are due to take control of the war-torn country’s security from 2014, allowing most international troops to withdraw (see – Petraeus W Plan) .. 

 

It happened when a Taliban gunman armed with an automatic K-47 rifle and several magazines stormed into a branch of Kabul Bank in Jalalabad and opened fire indiscriminately on the bank’s customers. The attackers was captured after he ran out of ammunition and identified as Zara Ajam. The “mastermind” of the attack, identified as Mahmood said, was also captured soon later. Zara Ajam removed his suicide vest inside the bank, then discarded the policeman’s uniform and hid among the dead and wounded.

 

Zara Ajam was recruited by the Taliban near his home and then, in late 2010, was taken to a training camp. He does not know his own age, poorly educated and worked in a quarry making gravel in the Waziristan area of Pakistan. When they hood was removed from his head, Zara Ajam looked confused: he had never seen a camera before, nor had he heard of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. Zara Ajam said in his interrogation there were 25 men training to carry out attacks in the camp where he was trained.

 

Mahmood said said in his interrogation he joined the fight because he “had heard many stories about Americans killing civilians like they bombed many wedding parties”.  

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the militant Islamists, who have been fighting international and government forces in Afghanistan for nearly ten years, were responsible. 

A total of 12 people including police officers died in attacks in the region Friday, including nine in a car bombing near a district police headquarters in the eastern city of Khost (Baghlan 02.18.11). 

Last Saturday, 19 people including 15 police and an intelligence agent died when suicide bombers armed with guns, grenades and car bombs targeted police headquarters in Afghanistan’s de facto southern capital, Kandahar (see – Kandahar 02.12.11).

Lutfullha Mashal, spokesman for the NDS – Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, said, on 02/27/2011 that the Jalalabad suicide assault was planned months in advance from within Pakistan, “in cooperation with Pakistani Taliban.” In the Jalalabad attack, 42 people, nearly all of them civilians, were killed ( see also – .Jalalabad 11.13.10 ).

“The planning of this incident-all of it-took place in Pakistan. It took them four months to plan the attack from inside Pakistan,” Mashal said. “The person who took part on the attack got training in weapons, bomb making, and other tactics in Pakistan.”.

The Taliban fighter Zara Ajam, who was captured in Jalalabad, “made a phone call to the planners of the attack,” Mashal said. “The person he called was the mastermind behind the operation.”

 

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