Kabul: Afghanistan on Saturday downplayed the risk
to President Hamid Karzai after officials foiled an alleged
assassination plot, denying that a bodyguard under arrest ever
had free access to the palace.
The intelligence service announced this week that one of
Karzai`s personal bodyguards and two university lectures were
among six people under arrest over an alleged al Qaeda plot to
kill Karzai hatched in Pakistan.
The reports appeared to underline the President`s
vulnerability after losing a series of key allies, including
peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani -- assassinated last month --
and his younger brother who was murdered in July.
But the presidency said the guard, Muhibullah Ahmadi, was
assigned only to the "outside gates of the presidential
palace" where he was not authorised to act independently and
was not allowed to enter the presidential compound.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said the six
were recruited to al Qaeda by a religious teacher at Kabul
It claimed they were "very close" to launching their
attack, having found a way inside the palace and recruiting
one of president`s bodyguards.
The NDS said the bodyguard, Ahmadi, came from Karzai`s
village -- Karz in the southern province of Kandahar.
The president survived an assassination attempt in 2008 at
a military parade and now rarely leaves the heavily fortified
Karzai was in India when the alleged plot was revealed,
where he signed a new strategic partnership deal that raised
concerns within Pakistan about being increasingly isolated in
The NDS says Rabbani was killed by a Pakistani and that
his murder was also planned in Pakistan.