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Arrests made in foiled Afghan 'suicide plot'

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Sixteen Afghan soldiers have been arrested after 11 suicide vests were seized, indicating the possibility of a mass suicide attack on to the defence ministry compound in Afghanistan.

The compound, near the presidential palace, was sealed after Tuesday's discovery.

The alleged plot was believed to be a simultaneous infiltration of the highly secured ministry headquarters and the detonation of 11 buses transporting government employees.

In a written statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Defence has rejected the reports.

In the statement, the ministry asked that all media agencies, both domestic and international, only report on defence matters "after checking with responsible sections and people of this ministry."

Attacks have increased in Afghanistan ahead of the US withdrawal from the country over the next two years.

Shukria Barakzai, the country's former chairwoman of the defence committee, said that she believed this was "evidence of high level infiltration".

"It must be high-profile people, which are behind such incidents which take place in the ministries from time to time," she said.

"It must be people who have links inside of the government, inside the presidential palace, inside the ministry of defence and other ministries..."

Barakzai said that this could be a high-level Taliban infiltration. She, however, did not rule out a foreign role.

This security breach comes a day after three NATO soldiers were killed by local security forces in two separate incidents.


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