It took 44 seconds for the Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel to neutralise the lone militant who managed to sneak in at the Indian consulate building in Afghanistan’s Herat, said a senior official. Due to objections raised by local women, Indian authorities are prohibited from installing CCTV cameras that could have captured images of militants proceeding towards the compound as the attack took place in the early hours on May 23. All the CCTV cameras are installed inside the complex, located in a crowded residential area. It was PTZ camera number 14, facing the internal walls of the compound that captured the leg of the gunman. The ITBP personnel monitoring control room immediately raised an alarm and the intruder was shot dead.
Investigations revealed that the attack was aimed at the office-cum-residence of consul general Amit Mishra as the only shell fired from a rocket propelled grenade launcher landed below his room. The maximum damage, officials said, was to his residence and it seemed they wanted to create a hostage situation as the gunman killed inside the compound had enough ammunition and dry fruits on him to have lasted three-four days. The other three gunmen suspected to belong to Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed by the Afghan security forces.
“The gunmen had taken refuge in a nearby building so they could aim at the consul general’s room. The personnel were asked to sparingly use their ammunition even though the Afghan security personnel managed the situation outside the compound,” said an official.
Following the incident, the Afghan security forces have intensified security around the compound. “Another High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) has been stationed around the compound and the Afghan authorities have increased the number of security personnel,” said a senior official. ITBP has submitted a preliminary report to the MHA on the incident.
When foreign secretary Sujatha Singh visited Afghanistan last week, authorities suggested the consulate building could be shifted to an area away from crowded residential area.
DG ITBP Subhash Goswami, who visited Afghanistan after the attack, said they would recommend President’s Police Medal for Gallantry for the five jawans who thwarted the attack.