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Afghan Forces Foil IS Plan To Assassinate Top U.S. Envoy

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul's chargé d’affaires, Ross Wilson (left), meets with Afghanistan High National Reconciliation Council head Abdullah Abdullah on September 24, 2020.

Afghan authorities said on January 12 they had foiled a plan by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group to assassinate the top U.S. envoy in Kabul, as a wave of targeted killings continue to rock the country.

Intelligence officers dismantled a four-member IS cell in the eastern province of Nangarhar that had planned to murder Ross Wilson as well as Afghan officials, the National Directorate of Security said.

Wilson, the U.S. charge d'affaires in Kabul, has steadfastly condemned a series of assassinations in the capital and other cities of prominent Afghans including journalists, activists, and politicians in recent months.

"The main assassin and facilitator of the cell, Abdul Wahed, had planned to assassinate the U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan as well as some high-ranking Afghan officials," the NDS said in a statement. "Their plan was foiled with their arrest."

The NDS did not offer further details, and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul did not respond to requests for comment.

In recent months, deadly violence has rocked Afghanistan, including a new trend of targeted killings of prominent Afghans that has sowed fear and chaos despite the Taliban and government engaging in peace talks.

Last week, the U.S. military blamed the terror group for these largely unclaimed targeted killings, although some of them have been claimed by IS.

Over the years, IS has claimed several deadly attacks in Nangarhar, once the bastion of the jihadist group in the country.

In a separate incident on January 12, three Afghan women soldiers were shot dead in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Two gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying the troops to work, army spokesman Hanif Rezayee said.

Two soldiers died at the scene and one died later in hospital, he said, adding that another military servicewoman and the male driver were wounded in the attack.

No group has so far claimed responsibility.