Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh flew down to Afghanistan’s Herat province on Friday and reviewed the security situation for the Indian consulate, which was attacked by terrorists last week. It is learnt that she decided to make the surprise visit, without waiting for any instructions from any higher authority, as soon as the visits from the SAARC leaders got over.
Foreign secretaries and senior officials usually make day-long trips to Afghanistan, specially after a terror attack on an Indian mission or a consulate. The practice has been followed due to the delicate security situation in Kabul.
Sources said that Singh, however, also decided to stay back in Kabul for the night, in a bid to give a boost to the morale of the Indian officials stationed in Afghanistan. She will meet officials in Kabul on Saturday, before she heads home.
Singh flew to Herat in the morning and met Governor Syed Fazullah Wahedi, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and senior officials to take stock of the situation during her brief visit there which lasted a few hours. She also met the staff including the ITBP security personnel who repelled the attack on May 23 in which all the four terrorists were killed, officials said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has already said that as per information given to his government by a Western intelligence agency, the perpetrators of the Herat attack belonged to the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
After the attack, security at the Indian Embassy in Kabul and consulates in Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar besides Herat has been beefed up and a high alert sounded to all Indian assets based across Afghanistan.
India is carrying out various development projects in Herat including construction of Salma hydroelectric and irrigation dam project at the cost about USD 200 million.