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