Central & South Asia
Afghan blast targets Indian embassy
Taliban claims responsibility for suicide attack that left 17 dead and 63 wounded in Kabul.
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2009 23:01 GMT

Officials say a suicide car bomber carried
out the attack [AFP]

At least 17 people have been killed in a suicide bombing outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Two policemen were among the dead, and at least 63 people were wounded in the blast on Thursday.

Shortly after the blast, the Taliban said it had carried out the attack, claiming on its official website that the attacker was a man called Khalid. However, intelligence sources told Al Jazeera that a "state" role was more likely.

A senior Indian embassy diplomat said that the bomb targeted the Indian embassy.

Zemarai Bashary, an Afghan interior ministry spokesman, said: "It was a suicide car bomb attack. There are civilian and police casualties."

One report said that two cars, one marked with UN insignia, had been badly damaged in the blast.

Smoke was seen rising from central Kabul and the windows of shops in the blast area were smashed.

Taliban responsibility

Zeina Khodr, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul, said: "Afghan government and intelligence sources have made clear to Al Jazeera that they believe that foreign hands were involved.

In video

The attack has sparked speculation that Pakistan's spy agency was behind it

"This was an operation which was planned by a state and not - I quote - a group of bandits."

Sayyid Abdul Gafoor, the head of the interior ministry's anti-crime unit, said special kinds of explosives were used for the explosion and the vehicle used in the suicide attack was not registered in Afghanistan, indicating possible foreign involvement.

Vishnu Prakash, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman, said in New Delhi: "As per reports we have received, all embassy personnel are safe.

"There has been some damage to the embassy property. We are closely monitoring the situation."

The Afghan interior ministry is on the opposite side of the road from the Indian embassy.

Last July, the Indian embassy in Kabul was the scene of the deadliest single attack in Kabul of the eight-year-old war.

A Taliban suicide car bomber killed 58 people, including two senior Indian diplomats, and wounded another 141 people.

Since then, the access road to the embassy has been barricaded.

Regional rivalries

in depth

  Redefining success in Afghanistan 
  'Al-Qaeda facilitates insurgency' 
  US trapped in 'bitter war'?
  On the frontlines with US troops
  Video: US weighs Afghan war strategy shift
  Video: McChrystal's Afghan ideas
  Riz Khan: Afghanistan in limbo
  Afghan war 'needs regional plan'

PJ Mir, a Pakistani political analyst, said Thursday's attack was an attempt to increase tensions between regional rivals India and Pakistan.

"This attack is not a target - it is meant to grab world attention," he told Al Jazeera.

"Its intention is to create terror and to create mistrust between India and Pakistan. This is purely the work of those militants who are working against the Afghan, Pakistan and Indian community at large."

After the bombing in July 2008, India said Pakistan's military spy agency, the ISI, was behind most attacks on Indians in Afghanistan as a way of undermining Indian influence.

Pakistan has long regarded Afghanistan as a fall-back position in the event of war with India.

Meanwhile, New Delhi seeks to retain influence in Afghanistan to deter anti-India groups from setting up training camps there.

Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.