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Afghanistan detains 2 alleged members of Taliban splinter group that killed Swedish journalist

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan has arrested two alleged militants from a Taliban splinter group that claimed responsibility for killing a Swedish journalist in Kabul, an official said Wednesday.

National Directorate of Security spokesman Hasib Sediqi said the two militants affiliated with the Feday-e-Mahaz group were detained in Kabul last week, and that a bomb, two pistols and a silencer were seized in the raid. He said the group had been planning to carry out an attack in the Afghan capital.

Feday-e-Mahaz claimed responsibility for last year's killing of Swedish Radio correspondent Nils Horner while he was reporting on Afghanistan's election on a street in Kabul.

In the western Herat province, meanwhile, a bomb blast killed a female police officer and wounded a policeman at a checkpoint, according to provincial police spokesman Abdul Raouf Ahmadi.

Also on Wednesday, Afghanistan's parliament approved eight out of 25 Cabinet nominees, including Gen. Noor-ur-Haq Ulomi as interior minister, Salahuddin Rabbani as foreign minister and Eklil Hakimi as finance minister. Rahmatullah Nabil was approved as general director of the intelligence services.

The approval of the nominees was announced by Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, speaker of the lower house.

Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, nominated to be defense minister, and nine other candidates did not secure enough votes, meaning that President Ashraf Ghani must present new nominees.

Another five nominees were rejected for having dual citizenship or incomplete education documents after a review by a joint parliamentary commission. Two other nominees were only introduced a day earlier, and will be considered in a future vote.

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