Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Afghan soldiers arrested over planned mass suicide attack on Defense Ministry

(Reuters) - More than a dozen Afghan soldiers suspected of plotting to attack the Defence Ministry in Kabul were arrested after 10 suicide vests were found inside the ministry, the New York Times reported, citing Afghan and Western officials.

Security across Afghanistan has worsened after a string of incidents that have enraged Afghans in recent weeks, including the shooting deaths of 17 civilians in the volatile south more than two weeks ago blamed on a U.S. sergeant.

The New York Times reported that the Defence Ministry went into "near-total lockdown" on Tuesday after the vests, which have pouches which suicide bombers pack with explosives for use in attacks, were found inside the ministry.

The building is in one of the most heavily fortified areas of the Afghan capital and is less than a mile from the presidential palace and the headquarters of the NATO-led foreign force in Afghanistan.

The news paper said possible targets included commuter buses for government employees as well as the ministry.