Afghan 'supermarket bomber' is paraded in public

By Quentin Sommerville
BBC News, Kabul

  • Published
The site of the supermarket bomb blast in Kabul
Image caption,
In the end it was only civilians who were killed in the attack

The Afghan intelligence service has detained men it believes carried out the bombing of a supermarket in Kabul which left 14 people dead.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) allowed one of the suspects to be questioned by the media at a news conference in Kabul.

Another four men, who it is said were planning another attack in the city, were also quizzed by journalists.

Six members of the same family were killed in the supermarket attack.

This was the first time that the NDS - which has a reputation of brutality - has brought detainees before the media.

First to be introduced at the press conference was Mohammad Khan.

Handcuffed and wearing an orange jump suit, the former telecoms worker explained how he helped 21-year-old Pakistani suicide bomber Mohammad Shoaib carry out the attack last month.

He took the bomber to a hotel for a couple of nights and organised an explosives vest before transporting him by taxi to the store.

The shop was popular with foreigners and is not far from the British and Canadian embassies.

The target he said, was two French VIPs, although in the end it was only civilians who died.

Image caption,
The blast in central Kabul left the supermarket ablaze

Among them was human rights lawyer, Hamida Barmaki, her husband and four children. Her two-year-old son was shot in the head.

Mohammad Khan said he was working for the Haqqani network, an insurgent group which has carried out a number of attacks in and around Kabul.

Amid jeers from Afghan journalists, he said he thought only foreigners would be killed.

"After the attack I heard that all the casualties were Afghans. I apologise to all Afghans for what I did. Now I understand that I did something very bad. I really regret my actions."

The intelligence service arrested him after tracing a call made by the bomber to his mobile phone.

At times giving somewhat confused evidence, Mr Khan said that he had been paid $300 for helping to carry out the bombing.

Four other men accused of planning an attack near a military base in the city were also brought forward.

One 17-year-old, Mohammad Ullah, said that he had been drugged and brainwashed after attending a madrassa in Pakistan.

"They gave us injections in both arms," he said.

"The colour of the drug was red. After we received it we started enjoying what they were saying about suicide attacks, it felt good, and our emotions were telling us to take part."

Missing from the line-up was Talib Jan, the man who allegedly recruited Mohammad Khan for the supermarket attack.

He had refused to repent, said the NDS, and had planned the attack along with others from his cell in Kabul's Pul-e Charkhi prison - where he is serving a three-year sentence for "terrorist activities".

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