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Lashkar prime suspect,NSA to get update

All indicators point to a LeT role in the Kabul attack supported by solid inputs from an intelligence agency.

With Afghanistan authorities conveying to India Lashkar-e-Toiba’s hand in last week’s attack that targeted Indians in Kabul,National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon will meet top Afghan leaders on Saturday for an update on the investigations.

While sleuths are looking for specific connects and are said to be close to getting evidence that will link the Pakistan-based group to the attack,sources said all indicators point to a LeT role in the attack supported by solid inputs from an intelligence agency. The attack,which has since been reconstructed by Afghan authorities as well as Indian investigators,is said to bear a ‘trademark’ LeT style of using explosives to bring down defences and then storming the target with small arms and grenades.

Unlike the July 2008 attack that killed four Indians,including a Brigadier and a Foreign Services officer,last week’s attack was a room-to-room search for Indian doctors,paramedics and other officers. “It was a definite attack on Indians who were staying at the guesthouse,” Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Jayant Prasad told The Indian Express.

Like the 26/11 Mumbai attack,the gunmen also searched each room at the nearby Park Residence hotel for Indians and foreigners.

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Another evidence that points to a role of a foreign intelligence agency is that the Taliban was unaware of the attack even hours after the guesthouses had been bombed last Friday. Intelligence inputs and intercepts with investigators have revealed that even though the Taliban was quick to claim responsibility,its top leadership were unaware of a major bombing in central Kabul.

The attackers also had precise information about the number of Indians staying at both the Medical Mission Guesthouse as well as Park Residence frequented by diplomats and other government officials. A senior IFS officer,now posted at the UNDP,had a narrow escape as he was not present at his Park Residence room when the attack took place.

Sources said the terrorists searched his room several times and even lobbed in grenades as they thought he was hiding inside. When they did not find the senior diplomat in the room,the terrorists talked to their handlers over phone to notify his absence.

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Menon,who will meet top security officials besides President Hamid Karzai,will seek answers to questions that have been drawn up by Indian investigators and will also discuss measures to improve security for Indian citizens and officials working in Afghanistan. He will also seek additional security measure for Indians working on government sponsored projects.

However,India is clear that humanitarian aid to the country will not be withdrawn. “Ours is purely humanitarian aid and yet we have been attacked by those who oppose India’s presence in Afghanistan. We are absolutely determined to continue what we have been doing in Afghanistan,” Prasad said.

First published on: 05-03-2010 at 11:53:07 pm
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