Modi thanks Karzai for ef­forts of the Afghanistan forces in thwart­ing the at­tack

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

The Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs (MEA) on Fri­day pointed fin­gers at Pak­istan for the ter­ror at­tack on its Con­sulate at Herat in Afghanistan, but stopped short of blam­ing it even as it awaits Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif ’s de­ci­sion to at­tend the swear­ing in of the Naren­dra Modi-led govern­ment on May 26.

Ear­lier on Fri­day, sus­pected Tal­iban mil­i­tants mounted a ter­ror at­tack against the In­dian Con­sulate in the Afghan city of Herat. No em­bassy of­fi­cials were killed in the in­ci­dent. MEA Spokesper­son Syed Ak­barud­din told re­porters that the at­tacks were planned be­yond Afghanistan’s bor­der in an in­di­rect ref­er­ence to Pak­istan­based ter­ror groups that could be be­hind it. How­ever, Ak­barud­din re­fused to name ei­ther Pak­istan or any anti-In­dia ter­ror group, say­ing that in­ves­ti­ga­tions are cur­rently un­der way. The In­dian and Afghan se­cu­rity agencies are jointly prob­ing the at­tack.

Pak­istan’s for­eign of­fice was also quick to con­demn the in­ci­dent. “No cause jus­ti­fies tar­get­ing of diplo­matic mis­sions. It is a mat­ter of re­lief that no one from the Con­sulate was hurt,” a Pak­istan for­eign state­ment said.

Ear­lier, Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai called Modi over the at­tack. Dur­ing the 10-minute con­ver­sa­tion, Modi was as­sured that ev­ery­thing will be done to pro­tect the In­dian mis­sions in Afghanistan. “Pres­i­dent Karzai and I talked about the Con­sulate at­tack in Herat. He as­sured me that he'll do ev­ery­thing to pro­tect In­dia's mis­sions in Afghanistan,” Modi tweeted.

Dur­ing their tele­phonic con­ver­sa­tion, the PM-des­ig­nate also thanked Karzai for the ef­forts of the In­dian and Afghanistan forces in thwart­ing the at­tack. “I salute the con­sulate staff for their in­domitable spirit and high morale through­out the dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances,” Modi said.

While such at­tacks in Jalal­abad and Kan­da­har by pro-Pak­istan ter­ror groups are noth­ing new, the choice of Herat for the strike has per­plexed many as the city, which lies near Afghanistan's bor­der with Iran, is con­sid­ered one of the safest in the land­locked coun­try. Se­nior govern­ment sources in In­dia be­lieve that this was an at­tempt by hard­lin­ers to send out a sig­nal to Modi who had tried to reach out to Pak­istan by invit­ing Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif for the oath cer­e­mony.

Cu­ri­ously, the de­vel­op­ment takes place on a day Is­lam­abad is ex­pected to take a call on whether Sharif will at­tend Modi's swear­ing in as PM on Mon­day. Afghan Pres­i­dent Karzai has al­ready ac­cepted Modi's in­vi­ta­tion which is be­ing de­scribed by many as a mas­ter­stroke by the BJP leader to en­gage with neigh­bours right from the out­set.

The at­tack was in­tended to send a mes­sage to Karzai as well as his host Modi, govern­ment sources told ET.

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