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Operations of Indian medical mission in Kabul suspended

As a fallout of last week's attack, operations of the Indian medical mission in Kabul have been suspended as many of its staff members have either been injured or killed in the terror strike.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2010 14:17 IST
Indians in Kabul

As a fallout of last week's attack, operations of the Indian medical mission in Kabul have been suspended as many of its staff members have either been injured or killed in the terror strike.

At the same time, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that India will not be deterred by such acts as he conveyed to Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the country's reconstruction activities would continue in Kabul.

Singh's message was conveyed by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon when he met Karzai in Kabul Friday, a week after the terror attack that left seven Indians dead.

In the message, Singh underlined India's continued support of reconstruction and efforts for regional stability, the Afghan Presidential spokesman said in a statement.

Singh pitched for enhanced historical relationship and closer cooperation between the two countries, the spokesman said. He also invited Karzai to India.

Karzai thanked India for its cooperation and assistance to Afghanistan and once again offered condolences to the mourning families and the people of India.

Sources, meanwhile, said operations of the Indian medical mission at the Kabul hospital have been suspended as adequate staff is not available after the February 26 attack.

Of the 11-member medical team -- 6 doctors and 5 para-medics -- one was killed in the attack and a number of others injured, they said, but did not specify how many were wounded.

The sources, however, asserted that the mission would not be wound up and operations would resume as soon as adequate staff is available again.

The Indian medical mission was functioning from the Indira Gandhi Child Care Hospital set up here under India's assistance programme.

However, tele-medicine will continue to be available to Afghans from Chandigarh's PGI and a Lucknow hospital, the sources said.

They also ruled out any downsizing of the embassy staff, rubbishing media reports in this regard.

Seven Indians, including three Major-rank officers of the Army, were among 18 people killed in the attack that targeted two hotels where Indians used to stay.

Prime Minister Singh yesterday told Parliament that the February 26 "cowardly" act of terrorists to target Indians on goodwill mission in Kabul would not "bend the will" of India to help people of Afghanistan.

Noting that India's assistance has received widespread support among the people of Afghanistan, he said India will continue to assist the people of Afghanistan in "securing their legitimate right to determine their destiny in the manner they chose without outside interference."

Condemning the act of targeting Indians, Singh said they were in Afghanistan "on a mission of goodwill and friendship helping to construct the peaceful and democratic Afghanistan that our Afghan friends desire."

Menon is on a two-day visit to Kabul since yesterday to discuss the security of 4,000 Indians working on developmental projects across the country in the wake of the latest attack.

Besides meeting Karzai, Menon held detailed talks with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul and some top officials from the defence establishment.