Afghan forces kill attacker near jirga venue

Last month, the Afghan Taliban said it would target participants in the `loya jirga` traditional assembly.

Kabul: Afghan security forces killed an attempted suicide bomber in the capital on Monday near the location of this week`s `loya jirga` traditional assembly, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

"A suicide bomber who was carrying a bag of explosives was shot dead near (the loya jirga tent)," Sediq Sediqqi said. "He was killed before he could carry out his mission."

The four-day gathering in Kabul, due to start on Wednesday, will bring together more than 2,000 politicians, tribal elders, community leaders, businessmen and civil society representatives from across the country.

Last month, the Afghan Taliban said it would target participants in the assembly, where the possibility of a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan will be discussed.

On Sunday, the Taliban said they had obtained a copy of the detailed security plan for the loya jirga, a claim the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), responsible for security in much of the country, dismissed as "fabricated propaganda”.

During last year`s assembly in June, insurgents fired at least four rockets at the tent in which it was held. They all fell short, but the attack was followed by a commando raid by three insurgents wearing suicide vests.

The country`s then-interior minister and head of intelligence resigned over lapses that led to the attack.

Bureau Report

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