For the second time in 15 months, the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked by a suicide car bomber. See map
The blast killed 17 people, all Afghans, and injured nearly 80. Three Indian paramilitary soldiers on guard duty were injured by shrapnel. Unlike last year, the Taliban claimed responsibility on a website.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the attack clearly targeted the Indian embassy.
Judging by the crater size, officials said, more explosives were used. Though the embassy doors and windows were blown off, its fortification following last year’s attack was cited as a key reason for the lack of Indian deaths.
This is the fourth such blast in Kabul since the August 20 elections. Kabul has launched a priority probe into the blast.
This may be driven by the Pakistan military’s complicity — based on US intelligence intercepts — in last year’s attack. “There is an obvious similarity between the two attacks,” said terror expert Ajai Sahni.
The embassy had been on high alert the past six to eight weeks, said sources in Kabul, because of intelligence that the Taliban’s Haqqani network — blamed for last year’s attack — wanted to target India.
The present Taliban, said former Research & Analysis Wing terror analyst B. Raman, are more hostile to India. They want India to have second thoughts about supporting the present Afghan regime, added Raman.
“Haqqani’s close ties to Pakistan’s ISI are well known,” Raman said.