KABUL -- Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) has foiled a plan by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) to assassinate the top US envoy in Kabul, officials said Tuesday (January 12).
Intelligence officers dismantled a four-member ISIS cell in Nangarhar Province that had planned to murder US Charge d'Affaires Ross Wilson, as well as a number of Afghan officials, according to the NDS.
Wilson has strongly condemned a series of assassinations of Afghan journalists, activists and politicians in recent months.
"The main assassin and facilitator of the cell, Abdul Wahed, had planned to assassinate the US ambassador in Afghanistan as well as some high ranking Afghan officials," the NDS said in a statement. "Their plan was foiled with their arrest."
Deadly violence has rocked Afghanistan in recent months, despite the Taliban and government engaging in peace talks in Doha, Qatar. The new trend of targeted killing of prominent Afghans has sowed fear and chaos, particularly in Kabul.
On Saturday (January 9) Kabul police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz announced the arrest of three suspects in one of the recent assassinations.
Last week the US military blamed the Taliban for these largely unclaimed targeted killings, although ISIS has claimed responsibility for a number of them.
Over the years, ISIS has claimed several deadly attacks in Nangarhar, once the bastion of the terrorist group in Afghanistan.
ISIS's Khorasan branch (ISIS-K) issued a statement in November 2019 admitting the group's defeat in Nangarhar after the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) dealt the group a series of territorial setbacks.
Ongoing operations against the group have hemmed in the remaining members and and curtailed the group's revenue sources, United Nations monitors said last May.
Now life is returning to normal, and displaced residents are returning to the province to rebuild their houses.
In a separate incident on Tuesday, three Afghan female soldiers were shot dead in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh Province.
Two gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying the troops to work, said Mohammad Hanif Rezayee, spokesman for the Afghan National Army's 209th Shaheen Corps, which is based in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Two soldiers were killed at the scene while another died later in hospital, he said. A male driver and another servicewoman were wounded.
No group has claimed responsibility so far.