Terrorists rammed a car bomb into two diplomatic vehicles in front of the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing at least 41 and wounding 139 in the worst terrorist attack since 2001. No one has yet taken responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban would be the most likely suspect. Pakistan condemned the attack, but the target and the location may put more pressure on the Gilani government to change its policy towards the Taliban in the federally-administered tribal areas (FATA):
The blast, at 8.30am local time, rocked the Afghan capital and shattered shop windows within a radius of several hundred metres leaving the Indian Embassy, which lies just a few hundred metres from the Afghan Interior Ministry in one of Kabul’s busiest streets, badly damaged.
A line of blast barriers designed to shield the Embassy from attack was partly levelled by the force of the explosion, which witnesses told The Times targeted two embassy vehicles carrying Indian diplomats into the heavily guarded compound….
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, issued a strong statement condemning the attack, however. “Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as this menace negates the very essence of human values,” Mr Qureshi said. He added that he expressed his“profound condolences to the bereaved families.”
Targeting India seems like a giveaway here. Radical Islamists have long fought India in the disputed Kashmir region, and Pakistan has fought wars with India in the past over the border dispute. This attack will make some wonder whether the Pakistani government hasn’t started working with the Taliban to shift their targets from Afghanistan to India, or merely to broaden the attacks to include both.
At the very least, the Karzai government in Afghanistan has new support for their contention that Pakistan has not done enough to stop terrorists from plotting attacks in FATA. Karzai has long complained about Pakistan’s appeasement of Baitullah Mehsud and his Taliban organization. Unless evidence arises that this attack came from another source, expect Karzai to demand action against Mehsud and the network of terrorists in FATA. India will certainly join in that demand, and the US along with its NATO partners will amplify that message as well.