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ISI cell in NWFP targeting Indians in Kabul

Nearly three months after the attack on Indians in Kabul,Afghan Security agencies have traced back recent anti-India operations in Afghanistan to an ISI outfit located inside a military cantonment in Kohat....

Written by Pranab Dhal Samanta | New Delhi |
May 16, 2010 4:07:07 am

Nearly three months after the attack on Indians in Kabul,Afghan Security agencies have traced back recent anti-India operations in Afghanistan to an ISI outfit located inside a military cantonment in Kohat in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

According to information available with Indian agencies,this was mentioned in a dossier on Pakistani intelligence activities in Afghanistan,prepared for Afghan President Hamid Karzai ahead of his just concluded visit to the US. He is believed to have shared the information with US authorities.

While this was a detailed dossier on ISI activities across Afghanistan,there was a section that specifically dealt with Pakistani efforts to target Indian assets in Afghanistan which included the Indian embassy,its consulates across that country,Indian companies and their projects.

For the first time,two Pakistani officials,Major Siraj and Major Mohammed Ali,have been named. The two officers,according to Afghan authorities,have been operating out of an ISI office that is referred to as MI-422 and was allegedly behind the February 26 attack. This is said to be in an Army cantonment in the Tal area of Kohat. These two officers,sources said,have been planning and coordinating activities against Indian entities through various terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The information in the dossier comes in the backdrop of earlier intelligence shared by Afghan agencies with their Indian counterparts that certain ISI operatives did travel across the border on the day of the attacks this February,apparently to assess the damage. In fact,two officials from the Pakistani mission in Kabul were also spotted at the explosion site after the incident and were apparently seen taking pictures and surveying the damage.

Subsequently,Afghan authorities also apprehended one Shah Mohammed,an Afghan national from the Paktia province,who alleged that he had been tasked by Pakistani ISI officials to film locations where Indians were being put up and revealed that he had passed on photographs and videos of sites where Indian companies are at work.

He is also said to have told interrogators that he had been taken to Miranshah on the Afghan-Pak border for receiving instructions and then sent to Kabul in March to specifically carry out monitoring of residential premises of Indian officials. Afghan authorities believe that a Brigadier-rank officer is based in the Pakistan mission in Kabul to specifically help execute the tracking and monitoring of Indians which is then sent across to the outfit in Kohat.

Earlier this month,Afghan Interior Minister Mohammed Hanif Atmar,accompanied by his intelligence chief Amrullah Salih,told the Meshrano Jirga (Upper House) that 16 suicide bombers had been arrested in April alone and of these,six were Pakistanis. One of these,he informed,was apparently from the Lashkar-e-Toiba. While the youngest of those arrested was aged 14,the oldest was a 55-year-old man.

Despite these details,sources said,Afghanistan has been cautious in making much of the information public given the sensitivities involved in pointing fingers at Pakistan. Most of the information is made known to US authorities,who in turn seek to corroborate it with Pakistan.

For this reason,India too has been cautious in prodding Afghanistan beyond a point lest the delicate balance be disturbed. But the assessment is clear that more and more terrorist attacks are being planned against Indian assets in Afghanistan and so the instruction to every Indian there is to assume that their movements are being monitored,tracked and mapped very closely.

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