Afghan forces foil suicide bomb attempt in Jalalabad
October 2, 2016
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan security forces foiled an attempted suicide attack by an adherent of the Islamic State group in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.
Jamil Rahman, an Islamic State loyalist, was arrested at a bus stop in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, according to a statement by the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency. The statement did not specify when exactly Rahman was arrested. It said he has been involved in several attacks against Afghan forces in Achin and Deh Bala districts of Nangarhar province.
Rahman, who is known by the nom de guerre Yasar and joined the Afghan branch of the Islamic State four months ago, was planning to carry out a suicide attack in a crowded area of the city after receiving training from the militant group, the statement said.
In a video the National Directorate of Security posted on social media, Rahman said he was invited to join the Islamic state by a friend and told his family he was going abroad. Instead, he received 15 days of religion and weapons training at a camp in eastern Afghanistan before being sent to a hideout.
“I joined the fight once when the government forces arrived in the Shadal area” of Achin district, he said. Achin is the militants’ stronghold in the province.
U.S. officials estimate the Islamic State group in Afghanistan has around 1,200 to 1,500 members, mostly in several districts of Nangarhar, with enclaves in neighboring Kunar province. They are primarily Pakistani Pashtuns who broke away from the Taliban, many apparently for the promise of higher pay, officials have said.
In recent months, U.S.-backed Afghan forces have been fighting the militants in Nangarhar. An operation this summer killed an estimated 300 Islamic State fighters, roughly 25 percent of their force, including a dozen high-level commanders, officials have said. A U.S. airstrike killed the group’s top leader, Hafiz Saeed Khan, in late July.