Central & South Asia
Pakistan rejects Kabul bombing link
Leader's statement comes after Afghans blame "regional intelligence circles".
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2008 18:55 GMT

The area near the embassy suffered major damage in Monday's explosion [Reuters]

Pakistan is not behind the suicide car-bombing that targeted the Indian embassy in Kabul on Monday, killing 41 people, including two senior Indian diplomats, Yousaf Raza Gillani, the country's prime minister, has said.

The Afghan interior ministry said it thought the blast was carried out "with co-ordination and advice from regional intelligence circles".

Speaking to Reuters news agency on the sidelines of an Islamic summit in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday, Gillani rejected the claim.

"We need a stable Afghanistan," he said.

"Certainly, why should Pakistan destabilise Afghanistan? It is in our interest, a stable Afghanistan. We want stability in the region."

Up to 141 people were wounded in addition to the deaths in the embassy bombing, according to government officials.

Security report

The bombing received support from foreign intelligence agencies, Afghanistan said in a security report released on Tuesday.

It said terrorists had entered the country after receiving training and logistical support from across the border, a reference to Pakistan.

"Without any doubt the terrorists could not have succeeded in this act without the support of foreign intelligence agencies," the report said.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the dead diplomats have been flown to New Delhi for cremation.

The military attache of the Indian embassy was among the victims [AFP]
Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian foreign minister, announced on Monday that an Indian military attache and a diplomat were among those killed, and identified them as Brigadier R Mehta and V Venkat Rao.

Mukherjee said two Indian security guards and an Afghan national who worked at the embassy were also killed.

"Such acts of terror will not deter us from fulfilling our commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan," he said.

Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, the Afghan foreign minister, visited the embassy soon after the attack to show support, Sultan Ahmad Baheen, his spokesman, said.

"The enemies of Afghanistan and India's relationship cannot hamper our relationship by conducting such attacks," Baheen said.

India has provided significant support to Afghanistan's efforts to restore order after the removal of the Taliban, which seized power in 1996 until they were pushed out.

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani author and expert on the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that the Afghan government is implicitly linking Pakistan to the attack.

"Pakistan, like many previous attacks, is blamed," he said.

"This is a worsening regional situation, particularly now that foreign embassies, like India, which has no troops in Afghanistan, are also being targeted."

Taliban denial

The Taliban has carried out a wave of suicide attacks across the country in the past seven years, but said it did not carry out the embassy attack.
Zabihullah Mujahed, a group spokesman, told the AFP news agency that the Taliban would have been proud to claim responsibility for the attack but they had not been involved.

"We wish we had carried out this attack ... since India has been the enemy of the Islamic emirate," he said.

"They send secret military experts to Afghanistan and they train  (the) Afghan army.

"Had we carried out the attack, we would have claimed responsibility for it with pride since we have good reasons for it."

Mujahed said America, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and other countries around "are rivals in Afghanistan and this attack may be the result of this rivalry".

Possible perpetrators

Retired Major-General Dipankar Banerjee, director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, told Al Jazeera that the Taliban may not be responsible for the attack.

"This terrorist attack is the work of those that are highly specialised ... but I am not entirely sure if the blame can be pointed towards the Taliban because the majority of those killed were Afghan civilians," he said.

"Also, India has no troops stationed in the country, but over 3,000 personnel involved in development projects.

"Perhaps this is the work of those that are not happy between this partnership between India and Afghanistan."

Al Jazeera and agencies
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