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Afghanistan: Hundreds Arrested In Plot Against Government

Kabul, 4 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A senior Afghan official said today hundreds of people were arrested last week in Kabul in connection with an apparent plot to destabilize the interim government. General Din Muhammad Jurat, the director-general for security at the Interior Ministry, said most of those arrested were members of the Hezb-i-Islami, a hard-line Islamic group lead by former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

He said more than 200 people have been arrested and that the plot included plans to set off bombs throughout the capital.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, Lieutenant Colonel Neal Peckam, said international troops were not involved in the operation, but in many cases had been given prior knowledge that arrests would be made. He said about 300 people were arrested by Afghan authorities over the past six or seven days.

Also today, a U.S. military spokesman said U.S.-led coalition forces in Shah-i-Kot Valley in eastern Afghanistan came under rocket fire yesterday, two weeks after U.S.-led forces ended their offensive against Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters in the area.