Indians Targetted In Kabul BombingFebruary 26, 2010
Taliban guerrillas attacked a hotel and a guesthouse in central Kabul in a dawn assault that killed at least 17 people including 9 Indians.
Three suicide bombers struck at the Park Residence Hotel and the Aria Guesthouse nearby, in the Shahr-i-Nau neighborhood, where many international aid organizations, companies and diplomatic missions are located.
The attack targeted “an Indian guesthouse,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a phone interview.
Unidentified Indian “government officials” were killed in what was “the third attack on Indian officials and interests in Afghanistan in the past 20 months,” India’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the attack in a statement, saying the Indians who died were on a goodwill mission, helping to construct a democratic Afghanistan.
The bombs smashed the facade of a bank and windows of a multi-story shopping and hotel complex where other foreigners were staying.
The attack was an attempt by the Taliban to halt India’s economic, technical and diplomatic support for the government of President Hamid Karzai, said Ahmed Saeedi, an independent political analyst and former diplomat in Kabul. India has given $1.2 billion in aid to Karzai’s government since 2002, largely to rebuild roads and the electrical power grid.
The Afghan and Indian governments say communications intercepts showed that Pakistan’s military intelligence network helped Taliban bomb the Indian embassy in Kabul in 2008, which Pakistan denies. The embassy bombing was claimed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, a Taliban commander based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, on the Afghan border. India’s then Defence Attaché, Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta was killed in that attack. He was heading Indian military’s training to the Afghan National Army.