Kabul: NATO said Monday that its troops had
captured a member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in
connection with a weekend suicide attack on an Afghan flea market that killed four soldiers.
Yesterday`s attack took place outside a US-Afghan
military base in Gardez, the provincial capital of eastern
Paktia province, which borders Pakistan`s tribal belt where
the Haqqani leadership and other Taliban are based.
NATO said the arrested man acted as an intermediary for
suicide bombers and linked him to the market attack that
killed two NATO and two Afghan soldiers.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
"Afghan and coalition forces captured a Haqqani
facilitator who is believed to be linked to yesterday`s
suicide attack," the alliance said.
The military said the man and two associates were
detained at a compound outside Gardez, where an automatic
weapon was impounded.
At least 678 foreign soldiers have been killed in the
Afghan war so far this year, by far the bloodiest toll in the
nine-year conflict, according to an AFP tally based on that
tracked by the independent icasualties.org website.
Last year 521 foreign troops were killed.
Taliban and allied Islamist networks bomb on a daily
basis Afghan troops and members of the more than
140,000-strong US-led force fighting a counter-insurgency
campaign mostly in the south and east of the country.
The Haqqani network is based in North Waziristan,
Pakistan`s premier Taliban and Al-Qaeda fortress just across
the border from Afghanistan.
The group is loyal to the Taliban and has been blamed for
some of the deadliest anti-US attacks in Afghanistan,
including a suicide attack at a US base in Khost last year
that killed seven US CIA operatives.