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article imagePakistan Foils Attacks Targeting Foreign Embassies Special

By Christopher Szabo     Jun 24, 2009 in World
Pakistani authorities have foiled a plot to attack six foreign embassies in the capital, Islamabad. Five European embassies and the South African High Commission are believed to have been the targets of the attacks.
The Hungarian-language Origo news website said this had been confirmed by the country’s Foreign Ministry and a report in Sweden’s English-language newspaper The Local said:
Sweden's foreign ministry has confirmed that (a) man was apprehended in connection with plans to bomb a number of western embassies, including Sweden's.
The Local said the man was arrested by Pakistani security forces on Friday. He was reported to be in possession of two tons of explosives.
Origo said the countries targeted were Sweden, Norway, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy and South Africa. It is believed the European nations were targeted because they all have a presence in Afghanistan. Hungary’s foreign ministry said that “with regard to the situation in Pakistan” measures had been taken to improve security at the country’s embassy and that Hungary and Pakistan had been in contact regarding possible security threats.
All of the targeted European countries had sent troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The force is composed mainly of NATO soldiers and is led by the U.S. Italy has stationed 2,350 soldiers in Afghanistan, Norway has 485, the Czech Republic 430, Sweden 420 and Hungary, 320.
South Africa, however, has no involvement in military operations in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Afshaq Qureshi, told Digital Journal:
What we have seen in our report is that there have been arrests in Islamabad, these people were arrested ... they were planning to target some government buildings, and a few of the headquarters of our intelligence agencies.
Referring specifically to the report that the South African High Commission had been targeted, Qureshi said he had no knowledge of this at the present time, but said:
I’ll take you back about two months, in Islamabad there was an incident, where one of the police posts was targeted. This police post was nearer to the South African mission, but not really near. The target wasn’t the S.A. Embassy, (but in the attack) a few of our policemen lost their lives.
The term "High Commissioner" is used in the countries of the British Commonwealth and is equivalent to an ambassador.
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