'Al-Qaida leader likely behind Afghanistan bomb'

A Libyan al-Qaida commander was likely behind the suicide bombing that killed 23 people outside the main US base in Afghanistan during a February visit by US Vice President Dick Cheney, an American military official said Thursday. Abu Laith al-Libi, who featured in an al-Qaida video last week, is believed to have trained bombers at terror camps, including one busted by US forces in the eastern province of Khost in 2005, said Maj. Chris Belcher, a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan. Cheney was inside the Bagram base at the time of the attack and was not hurt. "Our information suggests that Abu Laith al-Libi was the terrorist who planned the Feb. 27 suicide bomb attack at Bagram Airfield," Belcher said. "The planning of this attack was falsely attributed to Osama bin Laden by (Taliban commander) Mullah Dadullah... in an attempt to reassure those followers that bin Laden is not ill or dead," he said. Dadullah, the Taliban's feared and most prominent military commander, made the claim in an interview late last month with Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera.