A shameful attack

THE terror attack that targeted the Indian embassy in Kabul yesterday is easily one of the most shocking — and shameful, even for the war-torn Afghanistan.

At least, 40 people killed and hundreds injured. And five of those victims included Indians from among the embassy staff. The attack is also unusual for this is perhaps for the first time that a non-Western, neutral country like India has been targeted. But then terror knows no friends or allies. The first objective of a terrorist is to generate mass hysteria and fear by inflicting maximum suffering and pain. Which is what seemed to have happened in this case.

But the fact that the attack targeted innocent Afghan people, many of them women and young children, queuing up to apply for Indian visa, goes to underscore the point once again that forces of extremism always target their own.

Also, the terror attack in the VVIP, high security zone in the heart of capital Kabul — right next to the Interior Ministry offices — challenges the claim of the US-led coalition and the Afghan authorities that things are improving in the Central Asian country.

If this is the state of affairs in the Afghan capital and in the high profile diplomatic enclave, you can imagine the fate of ordinary civilian population. Talking of ordinary civilians, they have been at the receiving end from both sides. If the insurgents are using civilian bystanders for their own protection and defence, the US and Nato forces are increasingly targeting defenceless innocents.

On Sunday, a day before the attack on Indian embassy in Kabul, at least 27 civilians were killed in eastern Afghanistan in a missile attack by the US forces. According to the Afghan authorities the US fighter aircraft "accidentally" killed 27 Afghans, many of them women and children, walking to a wedding ceremony in eastern Afghanistan. It was the second attack in three days with reports of civilian killings.

The public outrage in the country over these repeated attacks is so strong that President Hamid Karzai had to order yet another 'probe' into the civilian killings. And this is not the first time that he's ordered such an investigation.

We must point out that such highhanded actions on the part of the coalition of the willing wouldn't go without alienating and radicalising more and more Afghans, forcing them into the arms of the extremists.

The attack on Indian mission must be condemned in strongest terms, especially since it has resulted in the loss of so many innocent lives. But if the US-led coalition wants to prevent more reckless attacks of such nature targeting innocents, it must rein in its trigger-happy troops and ask them to respect life and spare innocent people who have nothing to do with this war.

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