Afghan police ‘foil Kabul truck bomber’

The driver is arrested after heavy explosives and bombs are found hidden under boxes of tomatoes.

Police in the Afghan capital Kabul say they have arrested a would-be suicide truck bomber, averting a major attack on the city.

The truck was carrying nearly three tonnes of explosives and two bombs which had been hidden under boxes of tomatoes, a senior official said.

When police acting on a tip-off tried to stop the driver at a checkpoint, he drove on and was shot and injured.

A truck bomb killed more than 150 people in Kabul in May.

The police officers’ timely action on Saturday, a police official said, had saved the city from a great tragedy.

Thirty yellow and orange plastic containers filled with explosive material and two bombs each weighing 100kg (220lb) were found in the truck, AFP news agency reports, quoting the interior ministry.

A Western security source told the agency that each container contained ammonium nitrate, which is also used to make fertiliser.

Photos suggest the containers were connected by electric cables.

A man in shackles with bandages on his head and left hand was paraded for the media in front of the truck.

On 31 May a bomb packed inside a sewage truck exploded in the city’s diplomatic quarter, killing about 150 people and wounding some 400, most of them civilians.

It was the deadliest bomb attack by insurgents in Afghanistan since the Taliban were driven from power by US-led forces in 2001.

No group claimed that attack but the US-backed Afghan government accused a Taliban affiliate, the Haqqani group.

Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State has also been active in Afghanistan, claiming a bomb attack on Shia Muslims in Kabul on 23 July 2016 which killed 80 people and wounded 230.

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