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India wants details on ISI’s role in Kabul attack

India will ask Afghanistan to share information its intelligence agency gathered about the role of the ISI of Pakistan in plotting the recent attack on the parliament in Kabul.

New Delhi is keen to use the findings of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) of Afghanistan to drive home the point that nexus between Pakistan’s “state actors” and terror outfits poses a threat not only to India, but for the entire region. Seven terrorists, including a suicide bomber, carried out an attack on the Afghanistan parliament last Monday. The suicide bomber detonated himself near the gate of the parliament complex, while sergeant Eessa Khan single-handedly gunned down six other terrorists.

Though no parliamentarian was hurt, a woman and a child were killed in the explosion.

Security establishments in New Delhi suspected the role of state actors of Pakistan in the attack. The suspicion was proved true when investigations by NDS revealed that a serving ISI officer – known as Bilal – had coordinated the attack.

The Afghanistan media quoted NDS spokesman Haseeb Siddiqui stating that attack was “jointly designed by Maulvi Sherin, the Haqqani Network’s operational commander, and the ISI officer Bilal” in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan, however, dismissed the findings.

Officials in New Delhi said that the findings should now make the new government realize that Kabul’s reliance on Islamabad to buy peace from Taliban could be counter-productive.  New Delhi is of the view that the revelations should prompt Afghanistan government not to go ahead with the proposed agreement for cooperation between NDS and ISI.

Islamabad has been putting pressure on Kabul for early conclusion of the ISI-NDS deal as it would allow Pakistani intelligence agency to further spread its tentacles in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network was responsible for the deadly attacks on the Indian Embassy on July 7, 2008 and October 8, 2009.  The 2008 attack killed four Indians – a diplomat, an Indian Army officer and two Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel – and 54 others. No Indian was killed in the 2009 attack, but 17 Afghans lost lives and 63 others were hurt.

Deposing before the US Senate’s Armed Services Committee in September 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, had blamed the Haqqani Network for attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and said that the terror group had acted “as a veritable arm” of the ISI of Pakistan.

India is likely to highlight the findings of the NDS probe to convince the international community that Pakistan continued to play a destabilising role in Afghanistan. (DH)

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