UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Jul 07

07 July 2008

Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul


What happened?

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.

Background

Terror attacks on Indian soil and abroad on Indian embassies have been an unfortunate frequent-event. It is important to know more about such attacks and the brain behind them for IAS exam. It is also necessary to know about the security mechanisms and the security agencies that work in this domain in the country for the UPSC exam. It is a part of the internal security and international relations segments.

  • 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.

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