Afghanistan asks Pakistan to hand over 3 suspects for attack that killed UAE envoy

Afghanistan has formally asked Pakistan to hand over three suspects believed to be involved in plotting a deadly bomb attack in Kandahar in January that killed 13 people, including the UAE’s envoy.

Masoom Stanekzai, the chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) spy agency, provided details of the plot behind the January 10 blast at Kandahar governor Humayun Azizi’s guesthouse during a news conference on Thursday.

A probe conducted by the NDS with the intelligence agency of the United Arab Emirates and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had revealed that Taliban leaders based in the Pakistani city of Quetta had plotted and coordinated the attack.

A chef at the governor’s residence, Syed Mahboob Agha, was promised $30,000 and a home in Pakistan by the Taliban to carry out the bombing, Stanekzai said.

“We have officially given the names of three people involved in this attack to Pakistani authorities to demand their handover to Afghanistan,” he was quoted as saying by the Afghan media.

“We are determined to punish everyone involved in this attack. We have established their involvement in planning this attack. We have passed on all the important information to nab them.”

Stanekzai added: “I don’t want to disclose their nationality and want Pakistan to hand over these people who are involved in the Kandahar attack.”

The chef travelled to Quetta and Chaman in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province six times to receive instructions from the “Quetta Shura” of the Taliban on targeting the UAE envoy Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi.

“Someone came to me and I went to Quetta with him and we visited a Taliban leader there. They told me that there are rumors that the (UAE’s) ambassador is coming to Kandahar. They said that (the ambassador) should be eliminated. He said their elders have decided that (the ambassador) must be killed,” Stanekzai quoted the chef as saying.

The chef’s co-workers smuggled in RDX and TNT explosives that were planted in a sofa and detonated by remote control while the Kandahar governor was meeting Kaabi and his delegation, Stanekzai said.

Kaabi was seriously wounded and succumbed to his injuries in the UAE a month later. The Kandahar governor was seriously injured but survived.

Stanekzai said the NDS, UAE intelligence and FBI had come to similar conclusions, including the type of explosives used in the attack and the manner in which the explosion was triggered.

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