41 killed in Kabul suicide strike at Indian embassy
Kabul was rocked with a major attack on Monday. A suicide car bomber hit the outside wall of the Indian embassy in a crowded neighborhood in Kabul on Monday, killing 41 people and wounding more than 140. The attack is the largest in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
The massive explosion occurred at 8:35 AM, during the morning rush hour when the streets were packed. The Afghan Interior Ministry is located just down the street from the Indian Embassy. Scores of wounded sprawled throughout the streets in the wake of the devastating bombing. "We are walking on rubble," a senior embassy official told DNA India. "The embassy has been blown up badly, the outer structures," he said on condition of anonymity.
Four Indians, including the defense attache, were among those killed. Most of those killed or wounded were Afghans waiting in line to apply for visas to India.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and said it was aimed at destroying relations between India and Afghanistan. He intimated Pakistan was behind the attack. "The president strongly condemned the terrorist attack against the Indian embassy in Kabul and considers it the work of enemies of Afghanistan-India friendship," Karzai said in a statement released by his office.
During the reign of the Taliban in the 1990s, Pakistan backed the extremists, who served as "strategic depth" against India. India backed the Northern Alliance, a grouping of anti-Taliban fighters based out of northern Afghanistan. The Taliban have targeted Indian road crews and aid workers inside Afghanistan in the past.
The Taliban denied being behind the Kabul attack. "We have not done this," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the media.
But the Taliban often deny being behind strikes that result in the murder of Afghan civilians. The Taliban have been behind a series of spectacular strikes in Kabul this year, including six suicide attacks and two complex attacks against high-value targets.
On April 27, Taliban fighters launched a small-arms, machinegun, and mortar attack against a ceremony attended by President Karzai and the US and British ambassadors. Two Afghan members of parliament were killed and 11 were wounded in the assault.
On Jan. 14, a squad of Taliban terrorists raided the heavily secured Serena hotel. A Norwegian journalist, an American aid worker, and at least five security guards were killed in the assault, which included suicide bombers. The Haqqani network, based out of North Waziristan in Pakistan, was directly tied to the Serena Hotel attack.