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Assassination plot foiled? Afghanistan arrests five with 11 tons of explosives

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.Rahmat Gul / AP

Afghan security forces on Saturday arrested five insurgents suspected of planning to assassinate the country's second vice-president Abdul Karim Khalili, according to reports.

An intelligence agency spokesman said the five men were seized with 10,000 kilograms of explosives (11 tons). The BBC reported that the explosives were hidden in a truck beneath a cargo of potatoes.

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary reported on Twitter that a video detailing the insurgents' plan had also been found.

National Directorate of Security spokesman Nazari, who uses one name, said the insurgents had planned to use the explosives in multiple attacks in crowded areas, as well as in an attack targeting second vice-president Khalili.

"If this amount of explosives had been used, it could have caused large-scale bloodshed," he said.

He said three of the men detained were Pakistani citizens, while two were Afghans. They had received training from members of the Pakistani Taliban, who have strong links with the Afghan Taliban. 

Coordinated assault
Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of using insurgent groups like the Afghan Taliban as proxies in Afghanistan. 

Pakistan's government denies supporting or giving sanctuary to insurgents on its territory. 

Insurgents this week launched a coordinated assault on four provinces, targeting diplomatic and government areas of Kabul with rockets and gunfire in what they said was retaliation for abuses of Afghans by U.S. soldiers.

Kabul fighting ends after 18 hours of intense gunfire

The attacks showed the insurgency's resilience nearly 11 years since the Afghan Taliban were toppled.

The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks and said it planned similar assaults in coming months.

Reuters contributed to this report.