Suicide blast at Indian Embassy; 28 dead

via published on July 7, 2008

Kabul, July 07: A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into the gates of the Indian Embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, killing at least 28 people and wounding 141 others, a Health Ministry spokesman said. According to Indian officials, among the dead was a jawan of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police force.

The blast destroyed about four cars outside the Embassy in the heart of the city, and flesh and broken limbs were scattered at the scene, an afghan witness said. The bomber hit the thick Embassy gate, he said.

“It was a suicide car bomb in front of the Indian Embassy,” Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said. The Indian Ambassador and his deputy were not inside the Embassy at the time of the blast, Afghan officials said.

The bomb that went off in a car just after 8:30 am sent plumes of brown smoke into the air and was heard across the central city. It shattered the windows of shops several hundred metres away, an eyewitness said.

Police immediately sealed off the scene and kept people away as ambulance crews carried away several wounded. US troops were also at the scene.

Embassy officials said it was an emergency situation for them. Eighty percent of the Embassy system has been shut down, they added. “The Embassy has been attacked,” an official said by telephone.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee called an emergency meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, Defence Secretary and MEA officials to review the situation following the deadly attack.

Taliban insurgents have vowed to step up their campaign of suicide bombings this year to overthrow the pro-Western Afghan government and drive out foreign forces.

The Indian Embassy is directly opposite the Interior Ministry, but the bomber struck the embassy side of the street where dozens of people were waiting in line for visas.

India has close relations with the Afghan government and is funding a number of large infrastructure projects.

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