In the wake of the Friday's Kabul bombing, a team of Indian investigators has been rushed to the Afghan capital and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon will pay a visit there on March 5, to discuss security of Indians in Afghanistan. The Indian team, including officials of home and defence ministries, has joined their Afghan counterpart in probing the attack on the two hotels on Friday in which Indians engaged in developmental and reconstruction works in that country were targeted by terrorists, sources told PTI. Afghanistan has set up a five-member team to investigate the incident.
Menon will travel to Kabul on March 5 and is expected to meet the top leadership of Afghanistan including President Hamid Karzai to discuss various aspects related to security of Indians engaged in developmental projects across Afghanistan. The investigators suspect involvement of the Taliban, particularly the Haqqani group, in league with elements of Lashkar-e-Taiba in the assault.
The Indian team will be collecting evidence as to who were involved in the attack, the sources said. The terror attack in Kabul was on the pattern of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, with six to eight terrorists targeting the hotels and hunting for victims during the strike in which six Indians were killed and 10 others injured.
The attack was carried out in a coordinated manner with the terrorists first exploding bombs and then launching the armed assault, particularly against members of the India in medical mission, a pattern seen during the 26/11 carnage, they said. Realising that the Taliban and their associates have started targeting Indian officials who are in the field and are vulnerable, India has begun review of their security. There are about 4,000 Indians engaged in such projects being implemented as part of India's developmental assistance to the tune of 1.3 billion dollars.
After the attack on Friday, Karzai assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his government would conduct full investigation into the attack and take extra measures to ensure protection of all Indians in that country. Two Major-rank officers of the army were among the six Indians killed and 10 others, including five army officers, were injured in the assault.
The latest attack was the fourth on Indian interests in Afghanistan since July 2008 when a car laden with 100 kgs of explosives was blown up at the gate of Indian Embassy, killing 60 people, including four Indians -- a Brigadier-rank officer, a senior IFS officer and two ITBP personnel.
In October last year, terrorists struck again at the Embassy, carrying out a car bomb explosion near its outer wall and killing 17 people. Subsequently, in December, a hotel housing staff of an Indian IT company was targeted. Eight people were killed and two IT executives, an Indian cook and a cleaner were among those injured.