Even as security forces wrapped up their operation to clear Pathankot airbase, it emerged on Tuesday that the attack blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed was linked to the assault on the Indian consulate in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
The three terrorists who stormed a large house from which they targeted the Indian consulate left two messages written in blood on the walls of a strong room in which they had holed up. Both messages were in broken Urdu and one described the attack as “revenge for Afzal Guru”, who was hanged for his role in the 2001 parliament attack.
The terrorists involved in the Pathankot attack had told Rajesh Verma, a Gurdaspur resident they had taken hostage, that they were going to attack the airbase to avenge the hanging of Afzal Guru.
One of the messages scrawled by the attackers in Mazar-e-Sharif read: “Afzal Guru ka inteqaam (Revenge for Afzal Guru).” The other read: “Eik shaheed, hazar fidayeen (One martyr, thousand fidayeen).”
The Pajhwok Afghan News service posted photos of the messages that were scribbled in blood on walls that appeared to have been hit by bullets and shrapnel.
Security sources said the JeM’s affinity to Afzal Guru was understandable as he was convicted for the parliament attack that was blamed on the group based at Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The attackers in Mazar-e-Sharif were initially thwarted by ITBP personnel guarding the Indian consulate. Afghan special forces then launched an assault and killed the attackers late on Monday, ending a 24-hour siege.
Eight Afghan security personnel were injured in the operation and all staff of the Indian mission escaped unharmed.
The attack began late on Sunday after the terrorists tried to break into the consulate, taking advantage of the fact that many people were watching a football match between Afghanistan and India.
Afghan authorities have launched a probe to identify the attackers and provincial governor Atta Mohammad Noor blamed “enemies of peace and stability” for the attack.