Afghanistan's intelligence agency arrested a group of six people, including one of President Hamid Karzai's own bodyguards, in a plot to assassinate the Afghan leader, Afghan officials said today.
Among the other suspects is a university professor, a spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security said, adding that at least some of the suspects appeared to have been trained in Pakistan. The bodyguard arrested in the plot hails from the same home village of President Karzai, the spokesperson said.
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry also made a statement crediting the Intelligence Directorate with the arrests.
The arrests come after a string of high-profile assassinations in Afghanistan.
Karzai's half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was gunned down by a close associate in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in July. Ahmed Wali Karzai, a highly influential politician in the region, had been lured into seclusion by the man who said he needed to speak with him privately, but instead opened fire, according to one witness. Ahmed Wali Karzai's bodyguard then rushed to the scene and killed the assassin.
Only two weeks later, the mayor of Kandahar, an American-Afghan named Ghulam Haider Hamidi, was killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his turban. Hamidi, who held dual U.S.-Afghan citizenship, had been praised for his choice to stay in Kandahar to help the city of half-a-million rather than return to Virginia where he had worked as an accountant for 20 years.
Most recently, last month another suicide bomber employed the same bomb-in-a-turban tactic to kill Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council and a key figure in peace negotiations with the Taliban. Rabbani had been tricked into meeting with the bomber, who convinced one of Rabbani's colleagues he was interested in speaking with him about peace in Afghanistan.