Afghanistan blames Pakistan for embassy bombing; India holds fire

October 10, 2009

Afghanistan has wasted little time in accusing Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of being behind a bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on Thursday.

Asked by PBS news channel whether Kabul blamed Pakistan for the bombing, Afghan ambassador to the United States Said Jawad said: ”Yes, we do. We are pointing the finger at the Pakistan intelligence agency, based on the evidence on the ground and similar attacks taking place in Afghanistan.”

But what has been more striking is how careful India has been not to assign blame too quickly.  Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, the country’s top diplomat, visited Kabul on Friday but said it was too early to say who was responsible for the bombing.

“I think the investigation should be completed,” she said when asked if India thought Pakistan was behind the attack. “Whoever is responsible for this attack is against peace, is against democracy, is against people of Afghanistan and against the people of India.”

India has in the past accused the ISI of being behind attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan. An attack on the same Kabul embassy last year killed 58 people. And as discussed regularly on this blog, rivalry between Indian and Pakistan over Afghanistan complicates U.S. efforts to stabilise the country no matter how many extra troops it sends.

For a sense of deja vu, see this post from last August on India-Pakistan rivalry in Afghanistanthis post on the United States often conflicted approach in its dealings with the ISI, and this post from December asking whether it still made sense for President Barack Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan after last year’s attack on Mumbai torpedoed hopes of a regional settlement.

So what is to be expected as a result of this latest bombing on the Indian embassy in Kabul?  Will it automatically lead to a fresh increase in tensions between India and Pakistan, or at the very least stall tentative attempts to repair relations soured by the Mumbai attack?

The answer to that is not as obvious as it might seem.

Pakistan’s civilian government, which says its wants to hold peace talks with India, is already embroiled in an awkward stand-off with the Pakistan Army over provisions in the U.S. Kerry-Lugar aid bill which appear to curb the power of the military. So India might judge that now is not the right moment to raise the temperature.

Complicating the picture further is increasing violence within Pakistan itself – as highlighted by Saturday’s attack by suspected Taliban militants on the Pakistan Army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi, a day after 49 people were killed by a suicide car-bomber in the city of Peshawar. Do also read this chilling BBC account about the growth of militancy in south Punjab, in the heartland of Pakistan.

Add to that uncertainty about Obama’s yet-to-be-completed review of strategy in Afghanistan, along with reports that the insurgency there is both growing and becoming increasingly independent of leaders in Pakistan, and you get one of the more fluid and volatile mixes in the history of relations between India and Pakistan.

All that makes it impossible to predict with any certainty the impact of the Kabul embassy bombing on relations between the two countries. One to watch closely in the days and weeks ahead.

(Photos: Site of bomb blast in Kabul; Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao; soldiers take position in Rawalpindi)

33 comments

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The article describes the complexity of current mess in pakistan, India has not yet accused pakistan for the bombing near Indian embassy in Kabul, etc.

None of this invalidates pakistan army and ISI’s commitment to terrorism. Very likely the attack was ordered by pak army.

But that is old news. More gratifying is today’s news of Taliban attack on GHQ in Rawalpindi.

Poetic Justice!! New validation to the proverb as you sow so you shall reap!!

Reminded me of this event 7 years ago. When it happened I was deeply upset:

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/15/world/ gunmen-kill-30-including-10-children-in- kashmir.html

EXCERPT- The attack was the first on the family quarters of a military cantonment, Indian officials and Kashmir experts said. That is why most of the victims were women and children. Indian officials said only three of the 30 who died were soldiers, or jawans as they are called here.END OF EXCERPT.

After 7 years I had a Count of Monte Cristo Moment!

India should continue with its goodwill mission inside Afghanistan. The Pakistani civilian government is not showing any concerns about it. They want to move on with peaceful relations with India. It is the elements inside Pakistan’s intelligence establishment and the autonomous militant organizations (the so called non-state actors) that are behind the objections towards Indian projects inside Afghanistan. These are the same elements that are protecting the Taliban and Al Qaeda inside the lawless regions of Pakistan. We all should support the Pakistani civilian government at all costs and help them overcome the power grip of their military/intelligence/Jihadist network. I feel sorry for the innocent civilians who are helpless and would like to live a normal life there. India will help inside Pakistan too if they wish. We are not an evil nation. We will help Pakistan in every way. We’ll build business, roads, hospitals, dams and help in agriculture. But we want the Pakistani civilians and the democratic institutions to reach out to us. Together we can make both Pakistan and Afghanistan into peaceful nations. That is the real Af-Pak strategy and this is what Obama and his allies should push for. Indian involvement on a constructive front is what is needed at this time. Pakistani civilians will welcome it if Gilani is directed by the US to talk to them and convince them. Guns can only do so much. The rest has to happen in the hearts.

ISI’s Frankenstein monster is out of control!

Armed militants hold hostages at Pakistani army HQ
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapc f/10/10/pakistan.shootings/

If the Army HQ is not safe, are the nukes safe?

Is it time put the nukes in a safe box?

Posted by Robin | Report as abusive

Militants are on run, operation to continue till their elimination: Malik
http://www.sananews.com.pk/english/2009/ 06/16/militants-are-on-run-operation-to- continue-till-their-elimination-malik/

And the militants are running towards ..

Taliban gunmen take hostages at Pakistan’s military HQ, push towards its nuclear arsenal
http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=63 13

Posted by Nora | Report as abusive

DEBKAfile reports that lodged in the HQ compound is the secret department in charge of securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=63 13

Posted by Nora | Report as abusive

India doesn’t need to do anything. The Islamic radicals are their own worst enemy. Their demise will be caused by their own intolerance, not only of the kafir (infidel) but of each other. The civil war has just begun, in a few decades they will kill each other bringing a new era of peace to the world.

Posted by Agnivayu | Report as abusive

US government is still giving financial aid to Pakistan, and on back side they are using for terrorist activity since long time.

Posted by sarangshah | Report as abusive

Gandhiji once said – The world has enough for man’s need but not enough for man’s greed. As long as we people are greedy and want more than our fair share there will be conflicts. Be it Christians fighting Crusades in the holy land or Osama bin Laden and Taliban trying to throw out the Americans. The US and the West consume more than their fair share of resources and use developing countries for their own gains (Afghanistan in the Cold War). I laugh when I see Rambo 3 when it praises – The brave people of Afghanistan – it refers to the same mujahideen and Taliban the US is fighting against now!
when one section of the population corners more resources than the others – thinks it is the chosen one ala kings and queens of the past there will always be revolutions and overthrowing of autocratic regimes.
The US, India, UK and many other countries are democratic – but is the world democratic? Are all people in this world born or treated equal?
Unless everyone in this world is given a fair share – peace remains an illusion!

Posted by Gaurav | Report as abusive

Punjabi and Kashmir militants are paying gratitude back to Pak Army!

They militants were a mixed group, said the military official, who declined to be identified. Some came from the tribal areas, some from Punjab and some from Kashmir, the disputed territory on the Indian border

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/world/ asia/11pstan.html?_r=1&em

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

While Zardari and Kiyani were busy fighting over US loot, militants kidnapped Army HQ!

“As the siege developed at the headquarters, the chief of the Pakistani military, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was shown on Pakistani television meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari on the contentious issue of a $7.5 billion five year American aid package that the army says interferes with Pakistan’s national security”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/world/ asia/11pstan.html?_r=1&em

Posted by Sameeer | Report as abusive

Hi Myra,

I have been trying to get the answer that where these Taliban are getting weapons and ammunition ( Assault rifles and hand grenades?).. Any link on this?

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

Umair,
Are Kiyani, Pasha and nukes safe?

Posted by Pete | Report as abusive

“While the military failed to drain the swamp, the swamp delivered itself to the military HQ in mid-daylight”

.. the military had so far failed to “deliver the mother of all battles” in South Waziristan, giving the “terrorists a free hand to deliver themselves”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/world/ asia/11pstan.html?_r=1&em

Posted by Nora | Report as abusive

Oops .. Obama got to rewrite his policy again for the 9th time..

Talibans are not nice or friendly anymore .. they didn’t get the Noble prize ..

Posted by Samer | Report as abusive

This is a poetic justice. You reap what you sow. Pakistan have been harbouring terrorists for last 20 years and have killed thousands of innocent people in india. Now they are unable to control the monster that they created. Western governments should stop all aid to pakistan as its funneled to fund terrorist activities.

Posted by James Cameron | Report as abusive

Western governments must stop hand outs to pakistan.As this money is used for terrorist activities by ISI.

Posted by James Cameron | Report as abusive

There is no solution for Afghanistan without “solving” Pakistan and Pakistan is incapable of being “solved” until there is a nuclear calamity on the sub-continent, the US or even in Europe. We are moving inexorably in that direction. Meanwhile US troops, Afghanis, and an assortment of others die in vain.

Posted by vijay | Report as abusive

This is TIT FOR TAT. And India and Pakistan will carry on their proxy wars unless they do not solve it either on table or in gound of war. Offically they are not talking but under the table…they are in romance. Trade is ON, traffic is on and officials are meeting, politicians are meeting..only to declare what they were already saying. Then why they meet and what they discuss ? I think even CIA do not know this.

US citizens are being carried away- US could not find weapons in IRAQ, USA could not find al-qaeda in Afghansitan which did 9/11, and now Obama is fightig with TALIBAN…I say what is this whole stage show ?

Either people are dumb, like people of India and PAkistan or they are being fooled. Nobel to Obama was one of the greatest joke which could happen in these times…I think even Obama knows that that…it is too much for him to handle. He do not deserve nobel and he declared it.

Right now- when I am typing, USA is happy with GOOD TALIBAN and I am sure guys, there is going to be tough times ahead. USA has to take back his forces because if it increases troops- more body bags will go back and then people will start asking questions.
DRONE did not help much…Pakistan is not helping, India is under cover…who is in OPEN by the way. US soldier who is fighting with latest technology but still being blown up.

The morning papers reported Nirupama Rao saying the threat to Afghanistan was terrorists whose support was from “patrons residing across the border from them”.

I think there is no doubt that India is not going to buckle under this threat. Though its friends may maintain that Pakistan is doing enough the rest of us beg to differ. Trials are being conducted through adjournments, dossiers being dismissed as lack of evidence, Hafeez Saeed is paraded in front of cameras escorted by cops but no one seems to know in the Pak administration whether he is detained, charged, arrested or under house arrest for his own safety. A few days later he walks as a free man. Is this called doing something?

Incidentally for all those who talk of the ‘ grave threat om Pakistan’s eastern border with India’; that India has not taken a single hostile or threatening step, at a time when Pakistan is most vulnerable, is proof enough that this so called threat was and is just an excuse for inaction on the western side.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

As a matter of interest, could this post as well as the previous one on the Afghan bombing be on the ‘India a billion aspirations page’ also?

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

Pakistan is facing non-state terrorism which is a response to state terrorism of india inside kashmir @ american terrorism in Iraq. The solution is with india @ america…..lets see how far indian and american can hold up against the slow but uniting rest of the world.

Posted by Aviatrix | Report as abusive

“Pakistan is facing non-state terrorism which is a response to state terrorism of india inside kashmir @ american terrorism in Iraq”.
======

You have a great talent for story telling. Instead of wasting time in Reuters blog, you may want to write a novel or something.

Look whatever present AfPak strategy review unfolds, Pak/ISI is the enemy of Kabul…and by inference US.
One would have to be frankly stupid not to understand what drives Pak/ISI to come with bowl-in-hand seeking US Aid for its fighting forces. Civilian Government of Pak is not-in-charge of ISI or the Army. Zardari is a newcomer to politics and they will find ways and means of not only bullying him but deceiving their own govt, as corruption is ripe in Pak/ISI which was reponsible for trading its bomb making know-how to N Korea and Iran (other’s) for cash cow.

Posted by hari | Report as abusive

It has never been more urgent than it is now for Pakistan and India to achieve a peace and some sort of modus vivendi. In that light, the Kashmir dispute must be settled and settled soon.

The world community has been sitting on its hands for 60 years hoping that that dispute would go away. Now its non-resolution affects the peace of the entire world.

Milliband’s plain talk about resolving the Kashmir dispute earlier in the year was right on the mark.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

I am an INDIAN, a personally feels that any act whether inside INDIA or outside which involves killing/Hostage of women and children is not moral. No religion permits killing of innocent people. Though in the above case more military men are killed and some civilians are taken hostages, but in the end not even JIHAD permits these things. Terrorists are not holy warriors.

Posted by samar | Report as abusive

I hope India faces the reality and come out of ISI phobia. Indian leadership should realize that the seeds they are sowing in Pakistan, will bring fruit to them,sooner or later, as well. They are taking the whole region towards disaster and should wakeup; work for peace and harmony in South Asia.

Posted by abc | Report as abusive

Alethia: “It has never been more urgent than it is now for Pakistan and India to achieve a peace and some sort of modus vivendi. In that light, the Kashmir dispute must be settled and settled soon.

The world community has been sitting on its hands for 60 years hoping that that dispute would go away. Now its non-resolution affects the peace of the entire world.

Milliband’s plain talk about resolving the Kashmir dispute earlier in the year was right on the mark.”

Looks like Pakistan and its supporters have run out of ideas. You cannot go on blaming India for all your evils. If Kashmir was resolved, Pakistanis will invent something else, like their complaint about the goodwill projects that India is doing in Afghanistan or “plight of Indian Muslims” and so on. Some Westerners like Alethia have become blinded by bias and they sound just like the people they support. I don’t care if you have some unexplainable dislike towards India or not. It does not matter. But Ms. Alethia, I’d like your opinion on Mumbai attacks, housing Indian mafia gangster Dawood Ibrahim, allowing LeT leader Hafeez Saeed to wander around freely without his clothes inside Pakistan. May be you believe that the recent GHQ attack by militants is also related to Kashmir. How about Soviet invasion? May be you can create another theory here as well – India invited the Soviets to take over Afghanistan so that they could crush Pakistan from either side. India wanted all of Kashmir and probably all of Pakistan. So the Pakistanis joined hands with Americans and fought with Koran on one hand and a stinger missile on the other. The Soviet Union was defeated and everyone lived happily ever after. But India still did not let go of Kashmir. So Pakistan started a religious social service to liberate Kashmir from the Indians. All they did was take bouquets of flowers to throw at the Indians inside Kashmir. But India sent out half its military into Kashmir to protect its territory. That is not correct. However Pakistan sends its military into Swat and Waziristan and sends the other half in disguise inside Afghanistan. But that is all right because they are your friends. Please stop smoking whatever it is on your hand. You are sympathizing with crocodiles which only know how to bite. Kashmir is better off now with India than either be independent or with Pakistan. After Pakistan splinters up I wonder which part of it you will be sympathizing with.

Alethia wrote:
It has never been more urgent than it is now for Pakistan and India to achieve a peace and some sort of modus vivendi. In that light, the Kashmir dispute must be settled and settled soon.

—>Well said. It is really gratifying to the people of the subcontinent, especially to the people of India when outsiders show such tremendous interest in resolving the “Kashmir dispute”. Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts.

abc wrote:
hope India faces the reality and come out of ISI phobia… They are taking the whole region towards disaster and should wakeup…work for peace and harmony in South Asia.

—> I assume “they” here refers to Indians i.e Indians are taking the whole region towards disaster. Wherever you are from, it is very gratifying to see your accurate diagnosis about what is ailing the world particularly South Asia. Thanks from the bottom of an Indian heart. It would be even more gratifying if you could kindly clarify how Indians should “face” reality and list the things India and its people should do immediately to make south asia a haven of peace. Thanks again.

@It has never been more urgent than it is now for Pakistan and India to achieve a peace and some sort of modus vivendi. In that light, the Kashmir dispute must be settled and settled soon.
- Posted by Alethia

Alethia: You are back in your favorite pretend play game of India-Pak peacemaking on Kashmir. By stating the above, you are directly saying that the blast on Indian Embassy in Kabul in was by Pakistan? If yes, first shed some tears for innocent Afghans killed in the blast? India is in Afgh on invitation and as tough a riddle as it might appear to you, India in Afghanistan is none of Pakistan’s business plus India’s involvement is disliked by Taliban, Al-Qaida’s and Pakistan alike. This is the geopolitical chessboard and India is lucky that it does not has to force its way in Afghanistan like Pakistan did for installing Taliban govt against the wishes of the Afghans? Perhaps you want to see Taliban return in Afgh underc pak’s supervision like it did while Afghans were beheaded for shaving beard and listening to music. Also, China is in Pakistan and Srilanka, next door to India, and Pakistan is in Srilanka, Bangladesh and sleeper cells in India. Worse Pak & China are friends.
Miliband might have charmed you but he is a no body for India as you would have noticed by now. What I would like to hear from him if Brits are honest are the consequences of the way British set the boundaries—the basis of the problems in the region. India knows the issues to be resolved and need no Miliabands to do so. In fact the 2 Indian PMs are all for talks on any issue and the last backchannel diplomacy got a setback because of Pakistan not India. But talking to you about India’s concern “terrorism” is a waste of exercise so I will not do that.

@The world community has been sitting on its hands for 60 years hoping that that dispute would go away. Now its non-resolution affects the peace of the entire world.
—Oh really! But this is BS. “The world community” must comprise only you then. Most in the world do not know where Kashmir is on the map. They know about Kashmir problem as much as junior Bush knew that the Taliban is some high school cheerleader team. No crap this one! The world does not give a damn unless it is of personal interest to US/NATO and Kashmir until today is not, Pakistani nukes are, energy sources are and hence is Af-Pak and central Asia. Rest is all needless decibels. what you said also reminds me of Bush’s comment long time ago that the Americans have been through tough times because of the Iraq war and I laughed at that; the Americans know nothing about Iraq—except the lie of Rummy et al that Iraq was culprit in 9/11. It is the Iraqis who suffered the Iraq war and it is the Afghans who are suffering the consequences of that war.
You have no idea how selfish the West is (utter selfishness to the extent of self-destruction) ? US did not do a thing when Taliban/Pakistan/A-Q was growing in Afghanistan. Anti-Taliban Pasthuns (Karzai’s and other tribes)/Northern Alliance were crying for help, and the scholars wrote detailed articles/books about the need to help anti-Taliban and other issues, some visited US/UK discussed with political leaders and stressed the need to intervene in Afgh to oppose Pak/Taliban/ A-Q alliance. But for all your talk of the “The world community”, they did nothing—ZERO and at one point one American company interested in Afghanistan during Taliban regime was even helping Taliban. It took 9/11 to move “your community”.

@Also, if US is so worried about the problem in the region, why did it ditch the Afghans who needed help? Did they not know the effect it would have on Kashmir? Actions do not tie with the words.

Kashmir has nothing to do with Afghanistan. Those who think that way or entertain such concerns need serious rehabilitation.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

“It has never been more urgent than it is now for Pakistan and India to achieve a peace and some sort of modus vivendi. In that light, the Kashmir dispute must be settled and settled soon.”

Here we go again. This is getting to be funny. Everybody and their aunt wanting to connect Kashmir to every thing wrong about India – Pakistan or Afghanistan. Suddenly there are a heap of do-gooders, peace makers and well wishers in every nook and corner wanting Kashmir to be settled. I have yet to read of one such oh so concerned member of the world community here say exactly what and how this could be achieved or discuss why it isn’t happening.

We in the sub continent were given a parting gift by our erstwhile colonial rulers – in the West, who had neither the time nor were they willing to take on the responsibility to make a mutually acceptable division of the country – they just wanted to get out and run home. We more than any others have being paying the price of that folly and irresponsibility.

I think people need to realise that merely agonising over Kashmir is not enough. Those most affected are Pakistanis and Indians and we’ve just had it with people coming in here saying settle Kashmir and showing us their bleeding hearts. Guess what? You may not have noticed but this whole blog is mainly about Indians and Pakistan discussing Kashmir, how many have said they don’t want a settlement?

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

Alethia
Tell you minister Milliband that we in India too want a peaceful solution to Kashmir Dispute.
Tell Pakistanis to hand over POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) to India so that Indians and Pakistanis can live peacefully in this sub continent

Posted by varughese | Report as abusive

Jasveer Singh,

You have written a work of fiction. If you know that there are Indians in NWFP then please by all means present your proof, but wait…you can’t. Why? Because there is none! The last time Pakistan presened its SO-CALLED proof to India, it was discredited by the US.

If the Pakistani Army is proud, I see nothing for it to be proud about. The 1971 genocide in East Pakistan is still in the top 5 of the world’s worst genocides. If creating and nurtring terrorists to use against India is something ot be proud about then how do you feel right now fighting against them for your precious Pakistan’s survival.

Even the Indian Army has Sikh soldiers. Here is one example, Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora. If I remember correctly over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to him and an Indian Jew call Lt Gen Jacob.

India NEVER supported Mehsud. That is another conspiracy theory which died in slience.

If you love your Pakistan than you will remove ALL traces of Taliban, JuD, LeT and other terrorist groups from your country. Otherwise be prepared to pay ‘jizya’ to your future regime.

…its my humble request to indians that if you want to be alive in the world then donot do this if not then there will be a time when Afghan Taliban will rule over india also….

This last comment is not a humble request, but a gift wrapped threat! DO NOT POST THREATS on these blogs if you cannot contribute with tangible evidence to support your statements.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Dear Moderator,

I am offended that an open threat (below) was allowed to be posted on this blog. Could you please take care not to allow this to occur in the future.

…its my humble request to indians that if you want to be alive in the world then donot do this if not then there will be a time when Afghan Taliban will rule over india also….
- Posted by Jasveer Singh

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

[...] and US officials have regularly blamed the Pakistani government for attacks in the nation. Pakistan has always denied the allegations, [...]