Friend and Ally Update. “Afghanistan ‘holds Pakistani spy’,” from the BBC:
Afghanistan says it has arrested a Pakistani intelligence agent who acted as a key link with al-Qaeda leaders.
Presidential spokesman Karim Rahimi said the agent had been detained in eastern Kunar province carrying documents which proved his guilt.
The news came a day after intelligence officials said an Afghan general had been arrested for spying for Pakistan.
Afghanistan has long blamed Pakistan for cross-border attacks by the Taleban. Islamabad denies the charges.
‘Bin Laden escort’
Mr Karimi named the man arrested as Sayed Akbar, who he said worked for Pakistan’s controversial Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
“Some evidence and documents have been seized with him proving his destructive activities in Afghanistan,” Mr Karimi told a news conference in the capital, Kabul.
Sayed Akbar comes from the Chitral region of northern Pakistan bordering the Afghan province of Nuristan, the spokesman said.
The BBC’s Payenda Sargand in Kabul says, according to the Afghan authorities, Mr Akbar was in charge of relations between the ISI and al-Qaeda leaders.
Officials say he has confessed to his “illegal activities” in Afghanistan. These are said to include escorting Osama Bin Laden last year from Nuristan to Chitral.
On Monday, intelligence officials in Kabul said they had arrested an Afghan army general, Khair Mohammed, on charges of selling secrets to the ISI.
Mr Rahimi told the news conference: “National security officials arrested a defence ministry general committing national treason, spying for foreigners, and he is under investigation.”
Correspondents say it is not clear if the two arrests are linked. The defence ministry issued a statement saying that Khair Mohammed had not worked for it for almost four years.
There has so far been no response from Pakistan to news of either arrest.
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been tense for years, but have worsened during 2006 as violence in Afghanistan has soared.
Last week, President Hamid Karzai publicly accused the Pakistani government of backing the Taleban and said it wanted to turn Afghans into “slaves”.