A would-be suicide bomber has been caught with explosives strapped to his body as police thwart a terrorist plot in Afghanistan.
The young militant, disguised in a police uniform, was arrested in Baghlan wearing a khaki vest concealing a deadly bomb.
The teenager’s arrest on Friday came as another suicide bomber killed at least 41 people and injured 56 in a mosque as worshippers gathered for prayers marking a major Muslim holiday in Maimana, Faryab province some 220 miles away.
The bomb strapped to the thwarted militant had the potential to kill dozens of innocent civilians.
Provincial security chief Asadullah Shirzad said the man was the second would-be bomber to be arrested in the province in three days.
Police officers restrained the man as his shirt was pulled open to reveal the vest as officers examine the bomb.
The suicide attacker in Maimana, who some witnesses said was also wearing a police uniform, got past several security checkpoints before arriving at the mosque.
The Taliban has been blamed as a Taliban spokesman said they were investigating who was responsible for the attack.
Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for the police in the north of the country said almost half the dead were police.
He said: ‘The suicide bomber detonated explosives when our countrymen were congratulating each other on the Eid holiday.’
He said that police chief General Abdul Khaliq Aqsai appeared to be the target.
He said: ‘As soon as the police chief got in his vehicle, the bomber detonated his explosives.’
About 20 bodies, some in police uniform, lay in front of the mosque’s gates as smoke billowed above.
The attack, at around 9am local time on the first day of Eid, came just before President Hamid Karzai repeated his call for the Taliban to join the government.
Violence is intensifying across the country 11 years into the NATO-led war, sparking concerns over how the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces, often the target of the Taliban, will manage once most foreign troops leave.
The attack was the latest in a series of deadly strikes in recent weeks against Afghan army, police and government officials. The choice of targets suggests that the insurgents are increasingly turning against Afghan authorities and security forces now that NATO is drawing down toward a final withdrawal of foreign combat troops in 2014.