KABUL BOMB BLAST: AFGHANISTAN BLAMES HAQQANI NETWORK AND PAKISTAN’S ISI FOR ATTACK

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Afghanistan has blamed Pakistan for this morning’s deadly blast in Kabul that killed 80 and injured over 300. Tolo News has tweeted quoting Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) that the blast was carried out by the Haqqani Network with direct help of the ISI. No terror group has taken the responsibility so far while Taliban has denied any role in the attack. Taliban, in fact, strongly condemned the terror incident.

The Haqqani Network is an Afghan insurgent terror outfit based in Pakistan’s Waziristan and has carried out many high-profile attacks on US forces, high ranking Afghan officials and foreigners in Afghanistan. The network has ties with Taliban and Al Qaeda and the US considers it a major threat to Afghanistan’s stability.

A report in Pakistan’s The Express Tribune also corroborated the news break quoting Dawa Khan Meenpal, deputy spokesperson of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who told the US Government’s Afghan initiative Radio Azadi that “investigation was underway but the initial evidence suggested the attack was planned by the Haqqani Network with the help of foreign circles in Pakistan”. News agency AFP also confirmed that NDS has blamed the Haqqani Network and Pakistan’s ISI for the attack.

General John F. Campbell, then Commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, had said in his testimony before the US’ House Armed Services Committee in February 2016 that “Haqqani Network remains the most capable threat to the U.S. and Coalition forces”. Campbell’s assessment said the Haqqani Network was behind “planning and executing most high profile attacks in Kabul”. Pakistan’s continued patronage to the network has been testing the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and the US has warned Pakistan to act to dismantle the Haqqani Network or it will act alone to eliminate it.

The Haqqani Network’s most high profile attacks include April 2008 Hamid Karzai assassination attempt, December 2009 CIA’s Camp Chapman attack killing seven US agents, September 10, 2011 truck bomb explosion in Afghanistan’s Wardak province that killed five Afghans and injured 77 US soldiers, September 12, 2011 attack on the US Embassy and NATO bases in Kabul, plot to assassinate Afghan President Hamid Karzai again in October 2011 and series of suicide attacks on the Afghan parliament and western embassies in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave.

Just days into Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the deadly explosion in Kabul this morning killed 80 in one of the worst terror strikes in the war-torn South Asian country. Bomb concealed in a water-tanker exploded near Germany Embassy in Kabul around 9 AM local time in the highly fortified diplomatic enclave of Kabul that houses many embassies and the presidential palace of Afghanistan. The blast happened on a busy street with shops, supermarkets and office during peak morning hours with rush of office going people, shoppers and students and was so massive that many embassies, including Germany, Pakistan, Turkey, France, Japan, Bulgaria and UAE have reported damages. Some officials of German and Pakistani embassies have got injured and the Germany has closed its embassy in Kabul till further notice.

TERRORIST VIOLENCE DURING RAMADAN

The Kabul blast today is the first big terror attack during the holy month of Ramadan and if we see it in the context of the terror attacks during last year’s Ramadan, it may just be the beginning. Muslim holy month of Ramadan usually sees a spurt in terror strikes by Islamic terrorists and going by the reports, Ramadan in 2016 was the bloodiest ever with Islamic State claiming to kill and injured 5200 during the month long fasting period. In terror attacks spread over many countries, i.e., Bangladesh, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, hundreds of people lost their lives during Ramadan last year.

©SantoshChaubey

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