Khalid Will Return as Spy Chief, Karzai Says

News - Afghanistan


Afghanistan's spy chief Asadullah Khalid will return to his position as head of intelligence when he makes a full recovery from Thursday's assassination attempt against him, President Hamid Karzai said Saturday.

A full investigation into the attack is underway, Karzai said at the Saturday press conference, but one thing is already known for sure - the bomber was from Pakistan.

"We know that this man who came as a guest to meet with Asadullah Khalid came from Pakistan. We know that for a fact," he told reporters, adding that he was hopeful of Pakistan's full cooperation with the investigation.

Khalid survived the Thursday afternoon suicide attack at a National Directorate of Security guesthouse in Kabul, but received substantial injuries to the lower part of his body.

After receiving emergency surgery and blood transfusions at the NDS hospital in Kabul, he was moved to Bagram Airfield hospital for ongoing treatment.

The bomber, who met with Khalid on the pretext of peace talks, carried the bomb in his underwear, according to an AFP report quoting NDS official.

Isaf commander Gen. John Allen visited Khalid at Bagram on Friday and spoke with his medical team, according to a statement from Isaf.

"Asadullah Khalid has led the National Directorate of Security with great courage and determination," Allen said following the visit. "I wish this lionhearted Afghan patriot a speedy recovery. My prayers are with him and his family during this trying period."

Karzai said Friday that he was told by doctors that Khalid was "doing well".

Afghan experts have voiced concerns that the Afghan chief of intelligence was able to be targeted in this way and warned of people losing faith in the country's capacity to secure itself.

"The National Directorate of Security and especially the National Security Council should clarify to the people of Afghanistan whether there were the hands of the regional intelligence involved or whether it is really the enemies [insurgents]," analyst Gen. Ahminullah Amarkhil told TOLOnews on Friday.

A civil society activist Mohammad Ismael Azad said, "The main challenge for the Afghan government or the system is this: that they don't know who is on their side, so they are getting it wrong. They should know their allies."

The attack is similar to the suicide bombing that killed the chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council Burhanuddin Rabbani in September 2011.

Rabbani was killed at his home in a meeting with an apparent peace envoy who had hidden a bomb in his turban.

Khalid has already survived at least two other attempts on his life. One was in southern Kandahar province in October 2011 while he serving as the Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs, and another in a 2008 roadside bombing when he was governor of Kandahar in 2008.

Khalid was appointed head of the NDS by Karzai in September.

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