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Ministry attacker was infiltrator, not soldier: Azimi

Ministry attacker was infiltrator, not soldier: Azimi

Apr 20, 2011 - 16:04

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): This week's suicide attack on the Ministry of Defence in Kabul was a lapse on the part of the security personnel on duty but in no way represented a military weakness, an official said on Wednesday.

On Monday, a suicide bomber managed to enter the heavily-fortified building in the Afghan capital. Three people, including an officer, were killed and six others wounded in the ensuing shootout.

"There has been neglect, which will not be allowed to recur in future there," a spokesman for the ministry, Gen. Zahir Azimi, told a news conference in Kabul.

Such incidents occurred in all countries of the worldinfo-icon, but they did not mean that the army had been paralysed and was unable to deal with security challenges, he said.

Although the assailant found his way into the ministry, he was not allowed the opportunity to detonate his explosives, and was shot dead by security guards, Azimi added.

"We were unable to do our job in an efficient way, but the soldiers thwarted the attack within a few minutes, showing Afghan soldiers' performance was good, compared to their counterparts in other countries," he said.

Following the attack, the Talibaninfo-icon claimed the assailant who opened fire in the ministry compound was an army officer working as a sleeper agent for the rebel movement.

But Azimi said: "The attackers were not Afghan soldiers; they were infiltrators. There are different notions in this regard." One is that the assailants might have entered the building in vehicles, according to the spokesman.

An investigation into the incident was underway and the findings would be shared with media outlets as, he said. "How the bomber entered the ministry is a question that an investigation will have to answer." The incident would not affect the security transition from foreign to Afghan forces, he insisted.

Asked the defence minister should have stood down, the spokesman replied: "The situation in our country is difficult and we are in a state of war."

On Tuesday, parliamentarians asked senior defence ministry officials to quit due to their failure to prevent the attack. As the officials could not take care of the ministry, how they could defend national borders, the senators said.

Josef Blotz, the spokesman for NATOinfo-icon-led ISAFinfo-icon, also attended the press conference. He praised the Afghan soldiers for quickly responding to the attack. "Afghan soldiers' response showed us their ability."


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