India hints at Pak link to Kabul attack
New Delhi, October 10
“The international community and indeed the people of Afghanistan face a clear and present danger from the perpetrators of such wanton acts of terrorism and their patrons residing across the border,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said in a statement on her return from Kabul today after making an on-the-spot assessment of the devastation caused by the suicide attack, in which 17 persons were killed and 80 injured.
India had blamed Pakistan’s ISI for the July 2008 attack also in which more than 50 persons, including a senior IFS officer and India’s defence attaché, were killed.
Undeterred by the suicide attack, India also reiterated its “unwavering commitment” to the reconstruction of Afghanistan and its assistance to the Afghan people “in realising a democratic, peaceful and prosperous” country.
Nirupama is understood to have briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on her assessment of the situation in the war-ravaged nation and her discussions with the Afghan leadership and Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Jayant Prasad.
Officials, who did not wish to be quoted, said India had no plans to scale down its involvement in the reconstruction activity in the embattled nation. “There is no question of our scaling down our engagement as any such move would only embolden the forces which wish to see our back in Afghanistan,” they added, clearly hinting at objections raised by Islamabad and some of the Pakistan-based terrorist groups about India’s massive presence in that country.
In a related development, Defence Minister A K Antony asked Pakistan to be sincere in acting against terror groups on its soil in its own interest and not for India’s satisfaction.
“India is telling always that unless they (Pakistanis) act sincerely (against terrorists), there is no solution. Still they are not sincere. That is the problem,” he said on the margins of a seminar.
Expressing her "deep concern and revulsion" over the "barbaric and cowardly attack," the Foreign Secretary stressed that the attack was “so clearly aimed against the people of India and the people of Afghanistan and their abiding friendship”.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the claim is widely seen as a ploy to distract attention from the ISI's alleged involvement in the incident.
The Afghan foreign ministry had on Thursday itself said “the attack was orchestrated by the same group stationed outside Afghanistan that planned and executed the first attack on the Indian embassy in July last year”.
Afghan Ambassador to the US Said T. Jawad has blamed the ISI for the latest attack on the Indian embassy. “Yes, we do,” the Afghan envoy told the PBS news channel in an interview when asked if he was pointing the finger at Pakistan for the suicide bombing.