Afghanistan's intelligence agencies said today that two major Taliban attacks in Kabul have been averted in the past 20 days. The first was a plot to assassinate the country's vice president and the second was a plan to set off car bombs at President Hamid Karzai's palace in downtown Kabul.

 Authorities arrested five people who had been plotting a shooting and suicide bomb attack at the home of First Vice President Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, said Latifullah Mashal, an Afghan government spokesman.

The two suspects arrested in the planned presidential palace  bombings had been involved in rocket attacks against NATO, the Afghan intelligence officials said.