Kabul attack handiwork of enemies of Indo-Afghan ties

At least 17 people were killed and over 80 injured when a Taliban suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives near the Indian embassy in Kabul Thursday morning. Barring three Indian paramilitary personnel who were injured, all the other casualties were Afghans.

“The international community and indeed the people of Afghanistan face a clear and present danger from the perpetrators of such wanton acts of terrorism and their patrons residing across the border,” Rao said in a veiled reference to Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence.

The ISI was also suspected of having masterminded the July 7, 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul that killed two Indian diplomats in the first attack on an Indian mission abroad.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the claim is widely seen as a ploy to distract attention from the ISI’s alleged involvement in the incident.

The Afghan foreign ministry said Thursday that “the attack was orchestrated by the same group stationed outside Afghanistan that planned and executed the first attack on the Indian embassy in July last year”.

Afghan Ambassador to the US Said T. Jawad has blamed the ISI for the latest attack on the Indian embassy.

“Yes, we do,” the Afghan envoy told the PBS news channel in an interview when asked if he was pointing the figure at Pakistan for the suicide bombing.

“We are pointing the finger at the Pakistan intelligence agency, based on the evidence on the ground and a similar attack taking place in Afghanistan,” Jawad said.

While condemning the terrorist attack on the Indian embassy, it was emphasised by the foreign secretary, on behalf of the government of India, that the scourge of terrorism must be resolutely opposed, resisted and overcome through undiluted commitment and effort by the international community, India’s external affairs ministry said in New Delhi after Rao returned from her two-day trip to Kabul.

During her visit, Rao met Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Minister Dafdar Rangeen Spanta and National Security Advisor Zalmai Rassoul. They assured her that the Afghan government “would do all in its power to expeditiously investigate the dastardly attack and bring to justice the perpetrators and those behind this attack”.

They were unanimous in their view that the attack was carried out by elements from outside Afghanistan seeking to damage the excellent relations that exist between India and Afghanistan, the ministry said about the meetings between Rao and top Afghan ministers and officials.

Rao flew to Kabul Friday and inspected the chancery premises and its surrounding areas to make an on-the-spot assessment of the devastation caused by the blast.

She met the officers and staff of the Indian embassy, including the members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police entrusted with security of the mission. Two ITBP men had suffered shrapnel injuries during the attack.