Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Afghan Agents Thwart Assassination Attempt On Indian Diplomat

Kabul - Afghan intelligence agents have arrested two suspected attackers who intended to assassinate the Indian consul for eastern Afghanistan, a spokesman for the agency said on Wednesday. The two Afghan men, who 'were paid by a foreign intelligence service,' planned to kill the head of the Indian consulate in Nangarhar Province, but were arrested before carrying out the attack, Lutfullah Mashal, spokesman for National Directorate of Security, said.

The detained men allegedly confessed that they had been provided with money, weapons and a vehicle by foreign intelligence agents to attack the consulate, Mashal said. He did not say which intelligence service he was referring to other than saying, 'We all know which one I mean.'

Both Afghanistan and India have repeatedly accused elements inside Pakistan of sponsoring attacks in their countries, particularly the 2008 Mumbai attack and two bombings targeting the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

Islamabad has objected strongly to the four consulates New Delhi has in Afghanistan, in addition to its embassy in Kabul, saying the compounds are being used against Pakistan.

Pakistan, which was one of only three countries that officially recognized the deposed Taliban regime and which is still accused of helping some Afghan Taliban groups, has expressed dissatisfaction with India's close association with the administration of President Hamid Karzai.

The two regional rivals are seeking a role in Afghanistan after the US-led forces withdraw. Hints from Western countries on a more rapid exit from Afghanistan following the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden have fuelled the rivalry

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh plans to visit Afghanistan in coming days to discuss security, terrorism and development aid to wartorn country.

Singh is expected to announce an additional 100 million dollars in aid during the trip. India is one of the leading donors in Afghanistan, spending about 1.3 billion dollars on rebuilding the country since the Taliban was ousted in 2001.