Afghan forces seize two tonnes of explosives in Kabul

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan security forces have seized and destroyed two tonnes of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient of improvised explosives, foiling dozens of potential bomb attacks, the intelligence agency said on Wednesday.

The discovery in the Budkhak area in the east of Kabul on Monday evening came two days after Taliban insurgents attacked a guest house attached to the Spanish embassy in a heavily protected neighborhood in the Afghan capital.

“The material is used for car and suicide bombings and this discovery will prevent dozens of bomb attacks,” said an intelligence agency official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The National Directorate of Security, the country’s main intelligence agency, said the material was hidden in 20 bags sent by the Haqqani network from neighboring Pakistan.

A hardline militant group aligned with the Taliban, the Haqqanis are blamed for some of recent spate of large attacks across the country, particularly in Kabul.

The attack on Friday, involving four Taliban suicide bombers, lasted for more than 10 hours during which two Spanish security officers, and four Afghan policemen, were killed.

The government of President Ashraf Ghani has come under increasing pressure as the Taliban insurgency, aimed at expelling foreign forces and bringing down the Western-backed government, has spread since NATO ended its combat mission last year.

Afghanistan and its backers have been trying to bring Taliban insurgents to the negotiating table to end a war now in its 14th year.

Reporting by Hamid Shalizi, Editing by Clarence Fernandez