As Afghan President Ashraf Ghani sought to calm the region, his country’s biggest terror group said it had paid for the suicide attack on his city’s international airport, leaving it with a cash-strapped government unable to fund basic services.
Ghani was in a hospital in Kabul for a visit and was expected to be able to speak with Ghani’s chief of staff, Ahmad Wali, on Monday.
A senior member of the Taliban’s Afghan branch, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the group was not the one behind the bombing, but the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The group is accused by the U.S. of masterminding the attack on the Afghan government and the attack was likely launched by an Afghan faction known as Jaish-e Taliban Pakistan, or JTTP.
The statement on Friday said Lashkar had provided a “bargain” to the Afghan Taliban to help them finance the attack.
Lashkar claimed responsibility for the bombing at Kabul’s international Airport on June 25.
It also said it was behind a separate attack on a U.N. convoy in Afghanistan on June 23, killing at least 16 civilians.
The Taliban denied involvement.
The attack was blamed on the Haqqani Network, an insurgent group that has taken credit for attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
It’s unclear who carried out the attack at Kabul.
A Pakistani security official said the attack could be connected to Lashkar’s efforts to gain access to U.K.-based safe havens.
“Lashkar’s presence in Afghanistan has been steadily increasing over the past few years and this latest attack demonstrates their increasing presence in the country,” the official told Reuters.
The Haqqanis have long been blamed for attacks on Afghan security forces.
A report released last year by a U-N.
security council panel concluded that Lashkar was responsible for the May 15 attack on Kabul’s main airport.
The commission said Lashker was a major player in Afghanistan’s anti-government insurgency and its fighters had been fighting Afghan security and intelligence forces since the late 1990s.
Ghania, who is currently in a bid to wrest power from the Taliban, has tried to contain the insurgency, which has taken more than 10,000 lives and is responsible for killing tens of thousands of civilians in his country.
The United States says it is helping the Afghan Government fight the insurgency.
“The United States remains committed to supporting Afghanistan’s security forces and will continue to work with the government of Afghanistan to support them in their fight against the resurgent Taliban insurgency,” a White House statement said.
N-linked fighters have also been blamed by U.R.I. and other groups for attacks across Afghanistan, including a suicide attack at the U,N.
base in Kabul on April 4 that killed more than 100 civilians.