KABUL – Afghanistan has successfully dismantled a large Islamic State terror organization cell operating in Kabul, the country’s main intelligence agency said on Wednesday.
The network was made up of 13 militants of various nationalities who were planning attacks in the Afghan capital.
Members of “a broad terrorist network of the Daesh (another name for IS) who had domestic and foreign contacts have been arrested by the National Directorate of Security,” the organization said in a statement.
“The network had a plan to carry out a series of major terrorist attacks in Kabul city,” the NDS said, adding that the cell played an active role in moving suicide bombers to Kabul and providing resources to those insurgents.
A member of the NDS, who wished to remain anonymous, told EFE that it was “the first ever big Daesh group to be detained in Kabul by the agency” since IS’s inception in the country.
IS sprung up in Afghanistan in 2015, and formed its main bastion in the eastern province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan and plays an important role in bilateral communications.
The Afghan army announced on Tuesday that at least 86 IS members, including several commanders, had been killed and 38 others injured in two operations in the north and east of the country.
Although the authorities have repeatedly claimed that IS’s presence has been restricted to a few remote areas, the terror group has claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks the country has seen, including most recently on Sunday in Nangarhar, where a bomb placed on a motorcycle at the funeral of a local politician killed 18 and wounded 12.
Kabul was the scene last year of several major attacks claimed by the IS, the bloodiest of which since the US invasion and fall of the Taliban regime in 2003 came in May, killing 150 people and wounding over 300 in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter.