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Pakistan Accused of Link to Kabul Suicide Bombers

Suicide bombers who stormed the Justice Ministry and a prison department building in the Afghan capital on Feb. 11 were trained in Pakistan’s lawless border region, Afghan intelligence officials have said.

The attack, which left 26 people dead and more than 50 wounded, was conducted by eight armed men wearing suicide vests, and has been compared with the militant attacks in Mumbai, India, in November and against the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore on March 3.

The attackers’ aim was to kill as many people as possible, Sayed Ansari, a spokesman for the National Security Directorate, said Wednesday at a news conference in Kabul. They also intended to take hostages inside the Justice Ministry and demand the release of Taliban members held in Afghan jails, he said.

Ansari said seven accomplices had been arrested, and several more killed in a raid in Logar province, south of the capital. At least one of those arrested has said he was trained in Waziristan, a tribal region of Pakistan, by a man named Mohammad Haris, who Ansari said organized the operation.

“He played an active role in organizing the attack from the other side of the border,” he said, adding that Haris uses a number of aliases. “He was using a Pakistani mobile phone number to contact other members of the group.”

A Taliban fighter based in Pakistan’s tribal areas confirmed that a group led by Haris and operating out of North Waziristan was behind the Kabul attack.

As Dollar Loses Value,
Oil Rises Above $50

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to fire up the printing presses and buy $1 trillion in debt continued to wash over world financial markets on Thursday, dragging down the value of the dollar and pushing the prices of oil and gold higher.

But on Wall Street, stocks slid into negative terrain, a day after they bounced higher in response to the Fed’s surprise announcement that it would purchase $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $300 billion in Treasury debt.

Financial shares, which had pulled Wall Street higher on Wednesday, tugged markets in the opposite direction. Shares of Citigroup fell 15.6 percent, to $2.60, as the banking giant announced a reverse stock split. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were all lower.

As commodity prices rebounded, shares of companies that produce basic goods like plastics, chemicals and metals moved higher, softening Wall Street’s losses.