Kabul: A suicide car bomb hit the Indian embassy in Kabul on Monday, killing 41 people and wounding 139, in an attack Afghan authorities said was coordinated with foreign agents in the region, a likely reference to Pakistan.
Afghanistan has accused Pakistani agents of being behind a number of attacks in recent weeks and Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month threatened to send troops across the border to attack militants there if Pakistan does not take action.
Afghan analysts argue Pakistan is loath to see the emergence of a strong Afghanistan that is friendly to India and is secretly backing the Taliban as a “strategic asset”, enabling Pakistani forces to concentrate on defending the Indian border.
Pakistan denies the Afghan accusations and strongly condemned Monday’s attack in which the bomber rammed his car into the embassy just as two diplomatic vehicles were entering. “I saw wounded and dead people everywhere on the road,” said Danish Karokhil, the head of the independent Pajhwok news agency, whose offices are close by.
India’s military and press attaches and two Indian guards were among the 41 killed, but a line of people waiting for visas and shoppers at a nearby market were the main victims of the blast, the deadliest in Kabul since US-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban from power in 2001.
A Taliban spokesman denied responsibility for the attack, although another militant spokesman said earlier the hardline Islamist militia had been behind the bombing. The explosion destroyed the two embassy vehicles, blew the gates off, all-but demolished the walls and badly damaged buildings inside the compound.
“The government of India strongly condemns this cowardly terrorist attack on its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. Such acts of terror will not deter us from fulfilling our commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan,” the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.