[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]U[/dropcap]nidentified gunmen on Sunday night attacked the Indian Consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, but security men guarding the premises thwarted the daring raid and gunned down two of the four attackers. The identity of the gunmen was still not known, but security experts here feel that the attack carried the footprint of Pakistan supported militants. There were no casualties on the Indian side. The fate of two others attackers was still not known.
The attack carries the footprint of Pakistan. Wait till the details are out. Pakistan army and its intelligence agencies are in cahoots with terror outfits operating in Afghanistan. They must be behind the attack…
– an expert on Afghanistan affairs.
News agency Reuters quoted a spokesman for the local governor that armed men tried to enter the consulate compound.
Afghan news agency Pajhwok Afghan News said in a tweet: “Two attackers were killed in fighting after insurgents attacked Indian consulate in Mazarisharif city.”
In a series of tweets, Pajhwok Afghan News earlier said: “Police confirmed blast in gun fires in PD4 near to #Indian consulate in #Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif city.”
“Balkh governor spokesman told Pajhwok that attackers entered a house and firing on Indian Consulate in Maza-i-Sharif city.”
“Police says, no casualties yet reported from attack on #Indian Consulate in Maza-i-Sharif city.”
“Gun fires resumed after armed people attacked #Indian Consulate in MazairSharif city.”
BBC also said explosions and gunfire were heard near the Indian consulate.
Reports said that the consulate was housed in rented building, which was fortified with high security cordon consisting of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and local security personnel.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]l Jazeera’s Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said, “There are some casualties but we don’t have any details.”
The attack came barely a week after India Prime minister Narendra Modi visited Afghanistan and criticized Pakistan in his address to Afghan parliament. Modi did not name Pakistan but the tone of his speech was not well received in Pakistan. Hijbul Mujaheddin Chief Hafiz Sayeed had attacked Mod for criticizing Pakistan and then landing in Lahore to attend the wedding of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter.
Addressing the Afghan parliament, Modi had said that Afghanistan will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border and when nurseries and sanctuaries of terrorism are shut.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]odi also said terror and violence cannot be the instrument to shape the future of the strife-torn country and implied that Pakistan wanted to keep India out of Afghanistan. “There are some who did not want us to be here. There were those who saw sinister designs in our presence here. There are others who were uneasy at the strength of our partnership. Some even tried to discourage us,” he said.
Just days ahead of Modi visit to Afghanistan, Afghan National Directorate of Security troops arrested a suicide bomber, who was on a mission to attack the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province.
In an obvious upshot of Modi visit to Afghanistan Pakistan Army chief, Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif on Sunday visited Kabul to hold talks with the Afghan leadership on security issues. Gen Sharif met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other civil as well as military leaders during day-long trip.
Pakistan army is upset over growing cooperation between India and Afghanistan. On December 8 last year, India agreed to deliver four MI 25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan. This is supposed to be a new chapter in the Indo-Afghanistan relationship. In the past, New Delhi only provided training and non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan, apprehending supply of military weapon would upset Pakistan.
“The attack carries the footprint of Pakistan. Wait till the details are out. Pakistan army and its intelligence agencies are in cahoots with terror outfits operating in Afghanistan. They must be behind the attack,” said an expert on Afghanistan affairs.
This is not the first time an Indian consulate came under attack in Afghanistan. The Indian consulate in Herat was attacked May 23, 2014. In August 2013, nine civilians died when the consulate in Jalalabad was targeted.
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