Kabul: The Haqqani network, which Washington has blamed for a series of attacks in Afghanistan, may have been involved in a weekend bombing in Kabul that was the deadliest ground attack against Western troops in 10 years of war, officials said on Monday.
The suicide bombing on Saturday, which killed 13 foreigners, came just days before Afghanistan`s President Hamid Karzai and senior officials from its neighbours and its Western backers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were due to meet in Istanbul to discuss regional security.
The involvement of the Haqqani group, believed by Washington to be based in the mountains of North Waziristan on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, would make the already tough task of bringing Afghanistan and its neighbours together even more difficult.
"We don`t have any information indicating a direct Haqqani link yet, but it`s very possible it is Haqqani-related," a Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Officials said that while evidence of Haqqani involvement was by no means conclusive, the style of the attack and some of the equipment used in it raised that possibility.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the network, recently said that it is no longer based in Pakistan and is comfortable operating in Afghanistan after battlefield gains there.
A senior police official in Kabul said the explosives used in the attack were likely to have originated in either Iran or Pakistan.
"If it`s Pakistan, then it is definitely the work of the Haqqanis, but we are not certain as the investigation is underway," he said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Before, the Haqqanis claimed responsibility for unusual attacks in which they were indeed involved, but now they are seemingly avoiding independent claims of responsibility, and letting the Taliban get the credit, to avert future problems," the police official said.