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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Attacking Indian Embassy

Even as some argue that Bharat should even attempt to be a super power - one reason being there is Bharatiya Hindu Right (sic) in the country, apparently we already are. If not a super power, at least a region power that matters.

What else would explain the suicide car bomb terrorist attack - second largest in the recently initiated suicide terror in Afghanistan - that specifically targeted the ambassador to Afghanistan Sri Jayant Prasad, who was unhurt. Other 41 people weren't so lucky including two senior embassy personal and two low-level Bharatiya employees and number of Afghans waiting in line to get a visa to India and others shopping in the nearby market. About 150 were hurt. It was one powerful car bomb. But why target India? And why now?

Early AP story claimed that Taliban denied the attack and Land of the Pure's foreign ministry spokesperson had nothing to say. But now Taliban claims it did it and LoP denies its ISI's involvement. One apparent LoP political analyst that AP reporter spoke said Indians were asking for it by opening consulates all over Afghanistan. Presumably for influencing events in Afghanistan and spying on its eastern neighbour. So it's clear who perpetrated the attacks.

The why now may be easier to answer. With election season in India and US, the likely repercussions are less. In fact if the terrorists are lucky and if it plays out well on India's TV, with enough public pressure, India may even pull out of Afghanistan. There was some public outrage when civil engineers were killed by Taliban in the past.

And why would Taliban attack Indian Embassy when the Afghanistan Interior ministry was just down the road? Surely Taliban cannot overturn Karzai's government by targeting India.

Recently president Karzai claimed that ISI was planning to assassinate him. Few days before that Karzai said he would send Afghan forces across the border to hunt down Taliban and al Qaida. With European forces on-again-off-again support to US and NATO involvement in Afghanistan, ISI seems to be working on a strategy. It cannot direct its attacks on US and NATO forces - if the NATO forces have any inclination that ISI is directly killing Americans or Europeans, LoP will be in deep trouble. With Karzai out the way, with India out the way, and with Bush retiring, LoP establishment could use its charm offensive to, may be, talk the newly elected US president, presumably Obama (who seems to be the next Carter when it comes relations with India), into negotiating with Taliban in the name of stability and early withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. The promise can be made to the Americans that Taliban and ISI will work together to fight al Qaida. In fact, a few key al Qaida personal may even be handed over at the right moment. That way the intense Islamic jihadi pressure building up in LoP could be released westwards. It would be back to the strategic depth situation of the mid-90s - an ideal situation for ISI.

It's just possible ISI may be taking its chances to create conditions that may play out to its advantage after elections are held in US and in India, late this year and early next. The next US president and Bharatiya prime minister may be the wild cards.