Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta perhaps had a premonition of what’s to come weeks ahead of Monday's suicide attack in Kabul. He knew militants could strike at will.
In a security advisory issued by him on May 29, the military attaché and defence advisor to Afghanistan, had warned against vehicle-borne suicide attacks on international military (IM) convoys. Concerned about the safety of Indian nationals in Afghanistan, he had advised them “to keep a safe distance from IM convoys as they continue to be a target of militants”.
The advisory came on the heels of a vehicle-borne IED (improvised explosive device) targeting an IM convoy comprising two SUVs near Yakatoot area on the Kabul-Jalalabad road. Three Afghan nationals were killed and four civilians injured, aside from three IM personnel being severely wounded.
Mehta had then said, “The incident again displays the determination of the militants to strike at will. Indian nationals are advised to exercise due caution and maintain extra vigil.” He asked them to avoid any fixed pattern of movement in the city, including regular restaurants frequented by foreigners. Mehta had sought to generate awareness about the prevailing security scenario through print and electronic media as well as interaction with fellow colleagues.
Attempting to hinder India’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber had killed an ITBP jawan and injured four others in southwestern Afghanistan on June 4. The suspected Taliban bomber set off his explosives near a convoy of Indian workers engaged in the construction of the high-risk $175 million Zaranj-Delaram road project.
Before that, a Taliban bomber had set off his explosives near a convoy of Indian workers on April 12, killing two BRO engineers and injuring five others.
Among the Indians in Afghanistan are over 300 BRO personnel working on the road project, guarded by an equal number of ITBP commandos.