Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

Account of an Indian media person formerly stationed in Kabul

Posted by jagoindia on July 8, 2008

Caught in the great game
Behind blast lies strategic highway

July 8, 2008, The Telegraph, Calcutta

The following is the account of an Indian media person stationed in Kabul between 2003 and 2005 who did not want to be named.

I am a little surprised about this terrible attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. Indians are hugely respected in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul, because of our age-old and cordial relations.

In my years there, I felt no hostility from the Afghans. They are, in fact, very welcoming of Indians in most parts of that country. I would say the only exceptions are certain areas bordering Pakistan, and that animosity comes because of Pakistani influence.

I travelled throughout Afghanistan during my two years there and made many friends. I think the fact that I am a Sikh and I wear a turban and beard helped. I was identifiable as an Indian instantly by all of them. Even when the embassy used to order advisories from time to time about being extra careful, I would move around freely and never had a problem.

When I heard of the attack today, I called many of my friends and some of them called me. Thankfully, all of them are well.

But this attack is quite stunning. Nobody has claimed responsibility but knowing that the Afghan people are friendly towards Indians, I suspect it could only be the handiwork of Pakistan’s ISI, or of people backed by them.

I used to live very near where the Indian embassy is. It is located in a rented accommodation in central Kabul. In fact, it is situated right opposite the Afghan interior ministry, the Koocha-e-Wazarat Daakhila, in Shehr-e-Nau. It is a very busy, bustling road.

The Indians have bought a plot of land to build a new embassy but it is yet to come up. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation of the embassy building during his visit in 2005. I was in Kabul at the time, covering the visit.

My house was barely a hundred yards from where the blast took place. But I never felt unsafe or insecure. The embassy was itself fairly well guarded. There were about 10 Afghan police personnel posted outside the boundary wall, and inside the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was responsible for security. In fact, they manned the guardroom into which the suicide bombers rammed their vehicle today.

In my time, there used to be about 68 or so ITBP personnel guarding the embassy premises. But there was never any palpable sense of danger to Indians. But there are security concerns always. Kabul is a non-family station for all Indians. Only close family members are allowed short visits. My daughter once spent a fortnight with me while I was there.

Everybody knows the ISI is very active in Kabul and all over Afghanistan. Even I would get threats once in a while, but I used to ignore them. I never took a guard. My Afghan driver was my guard, interpreter and friend.

I would say even the Taliban would not attack Indians or Indian establishments unless they are under orders from the ISI. They have no independent reason to attack us. But the Pakistanis do, I think.

They are not happy with the Zaranj road project which is going to be completed later this month. That is because at the moment Afghanistan is virtually under Pakistani stranglehold. The Zaranj road project will change that because it will provide a link to key Afghan cities like Kabul and Kandahar and other parts of northern Afghanistan and Central Asia from the Iran side.

It can also be used to transport goods to and from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. This is a road of huge strategic importance that the ISI does not want completed.

In my experience, things were pretty good. People mixed with each other, especially Indians. In the evenings we used to sometimes go to a couple of Indian restaurants that are very popular. Or to international clubs. There was no problem.

But with this attack, this will have to drastically change, within and outside the embassy, for Indians in Afghanistan.

One Response to “Account of an Indian media person formerly stationed in Kabul”

  1. Sharad Rajvanshi said

    I don’t understand the purpose of the article …. if it just say that afghans are friends of India /Indians , they have not proved yet
    if the purpose is that pakistan influenced areas are against India/Indians then it is repeating the obvious
    It also proves tha afghans are stupid enough to believe whatever paki propoganda has to say and hate and target Indians even when India has always stood by people of afghanistan’s well being

    But I guess its not worth ,,, if they want to live as animals and be happy to expoited by mulahha Omars, zawaharis, bin ladens then let it be.
    Dont waste our sr and intelligent people on them

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