07 July 2008
Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul
The Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was the target of a suicide bombing on 7 July 2008 at 8:30 AM local time. 58 people were killed and 141 injured in the horrific terror attack.
- The explosion occurred in a car at the gates of the Indian Embassy located at the centre of the capital city of Afghanistan. Across the street was the Afghan government Interior Ministry.
- The street in which the explosion took place was usually busy with people lining up outside the embassy for visas to India.
- The car was a Toyota Camry and it was packed with explosives which suggested that the terrorists planned an all-out attack in the embassy. Investigations revealed that the suicide bomber might have detonated the bomb outside the gate when he saw that entry was difficult.
- The car rammed into two Indian diplomatic vehicles that were entering the embassy and detonated the explosives.
- The explosion blew off the embassy gate and damaged many buildings in the vicinity. The Indonesian embassy nearby also sustained some damages.
- Most of the casualty included local people. The Indians who died were Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta and V. Venkateswara Rao, IFS, both of whom were entering the embassy in a vehicle. The other Indians who were killed were officers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Roop Singh and Ajai Pathania. It has been suspected that Mehta was especially targeted since he had a part in training the Afghan military and was also investigating links between the Taliban and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).
- Two Indonesian diplomats sustained injuries. 6 Afghan policemen and security guards were also killed in the dastardly attack.
- The Indian and Afghan agencies have blamed the ISI for this attack. A few days after the bombing, the then National Security Advisor M K Narayanan was quoted as saying, “We have no doubt that the ISI is behind this.” One prominent Indian newspaper identified the terrorist as Hamza Shakoor, a 22-year-old from Gujranwala in Pakistan. Pakistan has denied the charge against its involvement.
- The motive behind the attack could be to derail India-Afghan ties which have been good ever since the Taliban was ousted and a democratically-elected government was in place in Afghanistan. India has been at the forefront of developmental activities in that country with its monetary contribution being the largest for a country without any military presence.
- The attack was condemned by various governments worldwide.
- Despite beefing up security since the incident, Indian nationals and establishments have been attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan.
Also on this day
1859: Birth of Rettamalai Srinivasan, activist for the depressed classes from Tamil Nadu.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.