Threat prompts lockdown at Afghan ministry
KABUL, Afghanistan—The Afghan Defense Ministry was locked down for two hours Tuesday after an intelligence report warned that the highly secured compound in the heart of Kabul was under threat of attack. Afghan officials said later the report was false.
In other incidents across Afghanistan, a NATO service member died in an explosion in the south, and a militant who led operations for an al-Qaida-linked terror group was killed by Afghan and coalition troops in the north.
In Kabul, two Afghan officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the lockdown at the ministry, said the threat emerged from faulty intelligence.
Several news organizations reported that on Monday, nearly a dozen vests packed with explosives were found, and more than a dozen suspects, including Afghan soldiers, were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to attack the ministry.
The ministry issued two statements on Tuesday, both calling the media reports baseless.
The second statement said, "Sixteen people have not been captured. Eleven suicide vests have not been recovered."
On April 18, 2011, a suicide attacker managed to sneak past security at the defense ministry, killing two Afghan soldiers and an Afghan army officer.
Also Tuesday, the U.S.-led military coalition said a NATO service member died in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan.
The coalition did not disclose the nationality of the service member or other details about the incident.
So far this year, 86 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan.
Also, the coalition said the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Afghanistan was killed Monday in Faryab province. During the operation in Shirin Tagab district, insurgents fired on Afghan and coalition troops. The joint force returned fire, killing Makhdum Nusrat, NATO said. Two other insurgents were detained along with a cache of weapons.
The coalition said Nusrat, the movement's highest-ranking insurgent in Afghanistan, led attacks against Afghan and coalition troops in northern provinces for the past eight months and was plotting the assassination of a member of parliament in Kabul.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was formed in 1991, originally aiming to set up an Islamic state in Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan. Later it expanded its goal to seeking an Islamic state across Central Asia. Aligning itself with al-Qaida, it has been most active in the northern provinces of Afghanistan.