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Will continue reconstruction of Afghanistan, says Menon

Foreign Secy Shivshankar Menon said the July 7 attack was the “work of our common enemies, of the enemies of our common friendship, and of the enemies of peace in Afghanistan and our region,” reports Amit Baruah.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2008 23:24 IST
Amit Baruah

Without naming Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said on Sunday that the July 7 attack on the Indian embassy was the “work of our common enemies, of the enemies of our common friendship, and of the enemies of peace in Afghanistan and our region”.

Speaking at a memorial meeting at the Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad’s residence, Menon stated that no words of condemnation were “too strong” for the perpetrators and organisers of the attack. “They must and will face a reckoning. Justice must be served.”

By making a distinction between the “perpetrators” and “organisers” of the attack, the Foreign Secretary is clearly pointing to those who could have ordered the suicide attack in which 58 persons, including four Indians were killed.

Menon’s comments in Kabul, which come a day after National Security Adviser MK Narayanan directly blamed Pakistan for the attack, appear to be a more diplomatic version of what the NSA said up front.

“We in India are determined to continue the work of these martyrs to our friendship — India’s commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to work with our Afghan brothers is unwavering,” the Foreign Secretary said in the presence of 15 out of the 20 members of Afghanistan’s cabinet.

Earlier, on Sunday, Menon revealed that the Indian embassy in Kabul had begun issuing visas again. “As they rebuild and regroup, the embassy personnel under Ambassador Jayant Prasad’s leadership have set a magnificent example that makes every Indian proud.”

Menon, who met President Hamid Karzai, said the Afghan leader had “expressed his shock and horror and determination to work together against the forces behind the attack. These words and actions are a great comfort to us all. We are most grateful”. He also held talks with National Security Adviser Zalmay Rasool and Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta.

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