Afghanistan: Taliban claim Kabul Indian embassy attack

Kabul, 8 October (AKI) - Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility for Thursday's suicide car-bombing outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, which killed at least 17 people and injured over 70. An Afghan named only as Khaled, carried out the attack, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Afghan news agency Pajhwok in a phone call from an undisclosed location.

Mujahid said the target had been the Indian embassy and claimed at that least 35 Afghan and international security personnel were killed and several others injured in the assault, Pajhwok reported.

A number of Indian mission employees were among the casualties and suffered slight injuries.

At least 35 Afghan and international security personnel were killed and several others injured in the assault, Mujahid claimed.

The Afghan interior ministry said the suicide took place near the Indian Embassy. "Fifteen civilians and two Afghan policemen were killed and 76 were wounded. Most of the wounded are civilians," the ministry stated.

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai, the United States and the European Union have condemned Thursday's deadly bombing which took place in a heavily fortified area of Kabul where the Afghan interior ministry is also located.

After the attack, India's foreign minister Nirupama Rao said India would take "whatever measures are needed to safeguard the security of our personnel and our interests in Afghanistan."

The Indian government sent its condolences to families of the blast victims and praised Afghan security personnel for their support and cooperation.

India has also acquired several bullet proof vehicles for embassy personnel.

The blast shattered windows in nearby buildings and was heard several kilometres away. It was the second blast to target the Indian embassy and was more powerful than the previous one that occurred on 7 July, 2008 when a suicide bomber rammed a car full of explosives into the gates of the embassy, killing dozens of people and injuring more than 140.

After last July's attack, Indian authorities erected a huge wall of concrete around the embassy to secure the mission which was almost destroyed in the bombing and the 500-metre road the embassy is located on has been barricaded for over a year.

Despite the stringent security measures in place, the car bomber managed to enter the neighbourhood where the Indian embassy is located.


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