Afghan forces foil ISIS plan to assassinate US envoy

KABUL • The Afghan authorities said yesterday they had foiled a plan by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group to assassinate the top US envoy in Kabul, as a wave of targeted killings continues to rock the country.

Intelligence officers dismantled a four-member ISIS cell in the eastern province of Nangarhar that had planned to murder Mr Ross Wilson and Afghan officials, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said.

Mr Wilson, US Charge d'Affaires in Kabul, has condemned a series of assassinations in the capital and other cities of prominent Afghans including journalists, activists and politicians in recent months.

"The main assassin and facilitator of the cell, Abdul Wahed, had planned to assassinate the US ambassador in Afghanistan as well as some high-ranking Afghan officials," the NDS said in a statement. "Their plan was foiled with their arrest."

The NDS did not offer further details and the United States embassy in Kabul did not respond to requests for comment.

In recent months, deadly violence has rocked Afghanistan, including the new trend of targeted killings of prominent Afghans which have sown fear and chaos despite the Taleban and government engaging in peace talks.

Last week, the US military blamed the terror group for these largely unclaimed killings, though some have been claimed by ISIS.

Over the years, ISIS has claimed several deadly attacks in Nangarhar, once the bastion of the militant group in the country.

In a separate incident yesterday, three Afghan female soldiers were shot dead in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Two gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying the troops to work, said army spokesman Hanif Rezayee.

Two soldiers died at the scene and one died later in hospital, he said, adding that another military servicewoman and the male driver were wounded in the attack.

No group has so far claimed responsibility.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2021, with the headline 'Afghan forces foil ISIS plan to assassinate US envoy'. Print Edition | Subscribe