Afghan security forces have arrested five militants with 10,000 kilograms of explosives that they smuggled in from Pakistan to carry out a massive attack in Kabul, as well as another three suspects allegedly planning to assassinate the vice president, an official said Saturday.

The reports of new planned attacks in the Afghan capital came a week after militants said to be part of the Pakistan-based Haqqani group launched coordinated assaults in the heart of Kabul and in three other cities.

U.S. officials say they have stepped up pressure on Islamabad to crack down on the Haqqanis, who specialise in high-profile strikes against well-protected targets.

Three of the five men arrested with the explosives were members of the Pakistani Taliban, while the other two belonged to the Afghan Taliban, National Director for Security spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiry told reporters. He said the men’s orders came from militant leaders with ties to Pakistani intelligence. He did not say when the arrests took place, nor what their intended target was.

Mr. Tahiry said the seized explosives were packed in 400 bags and hidden under potatoes loaded in a truck with Pakistani license plates.

The men confessed that they “had planned to carry out a terrorist attack in a key point in Kabul city,” Mr. Tahiry said.

Mr. Tahiry also said that security forces had foiled an assassination attempt by the Haqqani network against Afghan Vice President Mohammed Karim Khalili.

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