On October 8, 2009 a powerful explosion rocked the city of Kabul. The blast claimed 17 lives and injured another 80 including three security personnel of the Indian para-military force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel. The attack targeted the Indian Embassy. This is the second attack on the Indian mission in Afghanistan in a period of two years. On 7 July 2008, the Indian mission in Afghanistan was targeted by a bomb blast. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the bomber as Khalid, Al Jazeera TV channel said.
Even though the July 2008 blast had claimed 60 victims and led to the fortification of the embassy which saved major casualties in the recent attack. While no organisation had claimed responsibility for July attack, the US and India had both unearthed enough evidence then to suggest that the attack was carried out by the Jalaluddin Haqqani faction of Taliban at the behest of ISI. Haqqani’s son Sirajuddin was accused of executing that attack.
“The attack was clearly the handiwork of those who are desperate to undermine Indo-Afghan friendship and do not believe in a strong, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in Kabul.
Though the Taliban have claimed the responsibility for the attack, it is being seen as just an attempt to smokescreen the global attraction from the Pakistan’s role. 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.
Pakistan has always been pushing it’s agenda to oust India from Afghanistan since 2001.In fact, Islamabad had moved Washington to impress upon India to shut down its consulates.
A senior officer in South Block (Indian Defense Ministry) said: “Indian engagements in Afghanistan have been under sustained attack from certain quarters with the objective of spoiling them. The timing of the attack is also significant. It occurred at a time when the Obama administration is reviewing its Af-Pak policy. Forces opposed to India’s role are trying to convince Washington that New Delhi’s presence may not add to the stability of the region. But on the contrary, we have been a stabilising force and our ties with Afghanistan dates back to centuries.”
The UN Security Council on Thursday condemned “in the strongest terms” the “terrorist” suicide attack that occurred at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
“This heinous act of terror was an obvious attack on civilians and the perpetrators of this attack and those who planned it are vicious terrorists who kill innocent people for their malicious goals,” he (Afghan President Hamid Karzai) said in a statement.
India has restrained itself from accusing any agency directly and reiterated it’s stand that the humanitarian work being run by India will continue in Afghanistan. India has pledged USD 1.2 billion for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, making it the sixth largest bilateral donor to the war torn nation. India has also helped the nation build infrastructure. India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) constructed the $84m, 218-km Zaranj-Delaram highway, which strengthened Afghanistan’s transport links with neighbouring Iran, effectively giving the landlocked country access to Iranian sea ports. India also recently completed building a new power transmission line that has improved the power supply to Kabul.