Three days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Kabul, the Afghan National Directorate of Security said a suicide bomber, who was planning to attack the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, has been arrested.
Location of Jalalabad in Afghanistan. The city is very close to the lightly guarded border with Pakistan. Google Maps
Attaullah Ludin, a spokesman for the provincial governor in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, said that the attacker named Qari Nasir is a member of the Taliban.
He said that Nasir has confirmed during interrogations his intention of bombing the consulate. Nasir is from Tagab district in the north-eastern province of Kapisa. He has reportedly admitted to have received training in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Nasir seen here in a footage released by the NDS. KP
According to Indian Express, officials in India link Nasir to Taliban chief Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor – the one who helped in the IC-814 hijacking in 1999.
Mansoor is close to Pakistan’s ISI, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Taliban.
File photo of Muhammad Mansoor Akhtar. CBS
The latest development follows the arrest of two ISIS terrorists on December 14 who had planned to attack vehicles of the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad city. Reports in Afghanistan press confirmed the arrest of Ata-ur-Rahman alias Hanzala and Abdullah alias Qari Ismail with a 30-KG bomb.
Indian establishments in Afghanistan are critical targets for terrorists.
The Afghan intelligence agency had arrested in June this year a group of Haqqani network militants for an attack on a popular guest house in Kabul
that killed 14 people, including four Indians. Last year, ahead of the swearing-in of PM Narendra Modi, the consulate in Herat was attacked by the Taliban
. Due to a vigilant ITBP guard, the attackers failed in their objective of taking over the consulate. All four attackers were killed in the lengthy gun-battle that followed.
Afghan Army personnel emerging out of the Indian consulate in Herat. AP
The Jalalabad consulate had previously come under attack in August 2013. A failed bombing killed around nine Afghanis, including six children.
An Afghan security force member stands guard as rescuers help the wounded after an attack on the Indian consulate in Jalalabad. NDTV
The Pakistan-based Haqqani network and the Taliban had bombed the Indian mission in Kabul in 2008 killing 58 people.
Afghan security personnel inspect the damage to buildings after the attack near an Indian embassy in Kabul. AP
Analysts have pointed out that Afghanistan’s growing proximity to India has become a cause of concern for Pakistan’s ISI
. Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s former spy chief, says:
“India is a supporter of development and democracy in Afghanistan. It is entirely predictable that enemies of Afghanistan should be seeking to target the upcoming visit in any way they can.”
The problem is also a weak Afghan security establishment crippled by outdated weapons in their hands. Taliban, meanwhile, is growing stronger each day. Six NATO soldiers have been killed
in a deadly attack in Helmland province. Taliban has gained a significant part
of the province in a fighting that has exposed the weaknesses of the Afghanistan armed forces. Pentagon has already stated that insurgency in Afghanistan is on the rise once again.
Given the present scenario, Afghanistan will be pressing India for long-standing requests to pay for the refurbishment of six Ukranian Antonov An-32 transport aircraft and demand urgently weapons such as tanks and 120-millimeter howitzers.
Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, wants India to help his country with tech-int so that the Afghan forces can keep a better watch on her borders with Pakistan.
On Dec 25, Prime Minister Modi is will be in Afghanistan to inaugurate its new parliament building, which was built by India as a gift for Afghan democracy. The building will be the new home of those who make laws in Afghanistan but there seems to be little for those who defend it.