The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight


July 7, 2008

Major suicide bombing in Kabul targets the Indian embassy:

he embassy is located on a busy, tree-lined street near Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry in the city center. Several nearby shops were damaged or destroyed in the blast, and smoldering ruins covered the street. The explosion rattled much of the Afghan capital.

Shortly after the attack, a woman ran out of a Kabul hospital screaming, crying and hitting her face with both of her hands. Her two children, a girl named Lima and a boy named Mirwais, had been killed.

“Oh my God!” the woman screamed. “They are both dead.”

The Taliban are denying responsibility, while the Afghan government points the finger at Pakistan’s ISI:

Still, a Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, denied that the militants were behind the bombing. The Taliban tend to claim responsibility for attacks that inflict heavy tolls on international or Afghan troops, and deny responsibility for attacks that primarily kill Afghan civilians.

“Whenever we do a suicide attack, we confirm it,” Mujahid said. “The Taliban did not do this one.”

The 8:30 a.m. explosion was the deadliest attack in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and the deadliest in Afghanistan since a suicide bomber killed more than 100 people at a dog fighting competition in Kandahar province in February.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the bombing and said it was carried out by militants trying to rupture the friendship between Afghanistan and India.

The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, hinted that the attack was carried out with help from Pakistan’s intelligence service, saying that “terrorists have carried out this attack in coordination and consultation with some of the active intelligence circles in the region.”

I’m not clear enough on the current activities of the ISI to know whether their involvement would actually exclude that of the Taliban, but it remains very clear that the evolving relationship between Afghanistan and India–built, in part, out of mutual distrust towards Pakistan–threatens Pakistani interests. This isn’t the first time that analysts have pointed the finger at Pakistan for violence against Indians in Afghanistan.

Regardless of who deserves the final blame, however, the fact remains that people, including children, continue to die untimely deaths.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.