Associated Press

Kabul, June 20:

Afghan intelligence officials have thwarted a plot to assassinate US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and arrested three Pakistanis armed with rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles, two senior government officials said today. The men were arrested in the Qarghayi district of northeastern Laghman province yesterday, just 50 meters from where Khalilzad had planned to inaugurate a road along with Afghanistan’s interior minister, the officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. One of the officials said they had confessed to the crime and told authorities they were in Afghanistan “to fight jihad.” The US Embassy in Kabul had no immediate comment on the assassination plot, but said it would release a statement later. Khalilzad cancelled his appearance at the road opening at the last minute and was never in danger. One of the officials said the Afghan government was extremely angry at what he called a “lack of cooperation” from Islamabad in topping militants from crossing the border. Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed reacted angrily to any hint of official sanction for the attack. “This is a baseless allegation,” he told AP. “Pakistan is not involved in any such thing now or in the past.”

22 killed in fresh Taliban attacks

Kandahar: Twenty-two persons have been killed in new Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. Twenty-two Afghans, most of them militants, were killed and three US soldiers injured in the latest attacks linked to the country’s former Taliban regime, officials said. —AP