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Afghan-Al-Qaida 05-03

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A picture of Muharib Abdul-Latif al-Jubouri is displayed at a press conference in Baghdad on Thursday.

Libyan blamed in ’05 attack

A Libyan al-Qaida commander was probably behind the suicide bombing that killed 23 people outside the main U.S. base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, a U.S. military official told the Associated Press.

Abu Laith al-Libi, who was featured in an al-Qaida video last week, is believed to have trained bombers at terror camps in Afghanistan, including one raided by U.S. troops in eastern Khost province in 2005, said Maj. Chris Belcher, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition. Cheney was deep inside the sprawling Bagram base at the time of the February attack and was not hurt, but the bombing added to the impression that Western forces and the shaky government of President Hamid Karzai are vulnerable to assault by Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

"Our information suggests that Abu Laith al-Libi was the terrorist who planned the Feb. 27 suicide bomb attack at Bagram Airfield," Belcher said this week in an e-mail response to AP questions.

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"We have information that the planning of this attack was falsely attributed to Osama bin Laden by (Taliban commander) Mullah Dadullah in order to boost the morale of bin Laden’s followers worldwide, in an attempt to reassure those followers that bin Laden is not ill or dead," he said.

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