Who is responsible for the suicide bomb attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7? Afghanistan'sInterior Minister has issued an official statement, saying that ?this attack was carried out in co-ordination and consultation with an active intelligence service in the region?. Kabul which does not want to get into a verbal duel with Islamabad is understandably vague. It does not directly name Pakistan'sInter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for the bomb attack. But the statement must be taken in conjunction with a dossier prepared by Afghanistan'scovert service, the Riyast-i-Amniyat-i-Milli which has held the ISI responsible for a string of terror bombings in recent times. And it should know.
The question may well be asked: but why should the ISI indulge in such brutal killings? The answer is self-evident. Pakistan has always considered Afghanistan as coming exclusively under its sphere of influence, but is now finding that India is virtually casing it out. But how? The answer is: in a variety of ways. Firstly, India is the largest contributor to the infra-structural development of Afghanistan. It has pledged $ 750 million (about Rs 3,750 crore) to that end. The amount is to be spent on education, health and medical care, power generation and telecommunication, to mention just a few services.
India is setting up power transmission lines in the north, building more than 200 kms of asphalted roads, digging tube wells in six provinces, running sanitation projects in Kabul and is actively associated in lighting up 100 villages, using solar energy. It has given at least three Air-bus planes to Afghan Airlines and several thousand Indians are engaged in development work even under the most dire circumstances. Bilateral trade has risen to a historic $ 225 million. The crucial Kandahar-Iran highway will relieve Afghanistan of its dependence on Pakistan and India is training Afghan civil servants, diplomat and police officials. Afghanistan is a member of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and India is now the largest regional donor to Afghanistan'sdevelopment.
Incidentally, India also has a military presence at a place called Farkhor, 130 kms south east of Tajikhistan'scapital, Dushambe, which give Delhi unprecedented strategic reach. India has consulates in Jalalabad, Kandahar and Herat. India is building a road which will link the western cities of Zaranj and Herat with Kandahar in the south. What is even more reportedly frightening to the Pakistani military elite is the close cooperation between India and Russian whose representatives have been working together in the Indo-Russian Joint Working Group since 2000. It was the United States that originally set up the Taliban and the Al-Qaida to get the Russians thrown out of Afghanistan. It is now the same United States which is seeking Russian help to tame the Taliban! The irony is obvious. Only, the Taliban, under guidance from Pakistan'sISI, is now focusing its venom on India. The US now wants Russia desperately. It is losing men in an undeclared war and there is growing weariness in Europe with events in Afghanistan.
NATO member nations don'twant to sacrifice their men for Washington'ssins. But Russian does not want to let off the US and NATO all that easily. The Russians Ambassador to Kabul, Kabulov, is reported to have said in an interview: ?We will not let them out of Afghanistan until they solve the problems they have created?international terrorism and unchecked increase in drug trafficking?. It was the United States which encouraged terrorism in the eighties and nineties and it should not be allowed to forget that despicable fact. The United States is not only fooling the world, but it is fooling its own people as well. Delhi is keeping mum when it should be exploding with anger at American duplicity. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher after a five-day visit to Islamabad said in a statement that Pakistan is an ?key ally? in the war against terrorism and that Pakistan civilian leaders must go soft on Musharraf. Who is fooling whom?
No less respected a paper as The New York Times has revealed that most of the nearly six billion dollars provided by the US to Pakistan to fight terrorism has been diverted by Musharraf to finance weapons systems designed to counter India, rather than fight the Al-Qaida-Taliban combine. What is even more shocking, and we have The New York Times? word for it, in addition to the one billion dollars a year provided to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), Pakistan has received an additional $ 7.5 to $ 9 billion in CSF since 2002. What kind of friendship does Dr Manmohan Singh have with George Bush?
To say the least, it is sickening. Shri Boucher'sadvice to Afghanistan is to coordinate with Pakistani troops to curb militancy and eliminate terrorism. But how can Afghanistan do that when the ISI has been systematically helping the Taliban to establish itself on the Pakistani side of the border, especially in the federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)? This has even forced Afghanistan'sPresident Hamid Karzai to warn Pakistan that he has the right to safeguard his country'sinterests by attacking its eastern neighbour.
Did Shri Boucher ask Pakistan to first dismantle the ISI which is at the back of all terrorism? The July 7 suicide bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul shows how deep the ISI has penetrated into Afghanistan? security elements. The Indian Embassy in Kabul is close to the fortified Afghan ministries all of which are under the highest security. How come that a suicide bomber managed to get through such tight security unless the security forces themselves have been penetrated by ISI-paid men? We are being fooled, time and time again.
Two facts are clear: One, the United States will stand by Musharraf and his gang in the Pakistani Army, come what may. The ISI will not be disbanded or curbed. Two, India is being lulled to sleep by smooth talk. Pakistan'sForeign Affairs Minister, 50-year old Shah Mahmood Quereshi during his visit to Delhi in late June called for a conclusive political environment that would make the Indo-Pak peace process result-oriented. How can one trust a man who says one thing in Delhi but whose ISI henchmen go out on wanton killing of Indian embassy officials in Kabul with the connivance of Afghan jihadists? What is the United States doing? The first thing to do to bring down terrorism is to disband the ISI. That the US will never demand?and Islamabad will never oblige. Washington must stop financing Pakistan whose only aim is to hit out at India at every opportune moment. The message from Kabul is clear: Pakistan cannot accept India'spositive and humanitarian role in Afghanistan that undercuts its aim to keep Kabul under its thumb. It was not India that created the Taliban. It was the United States. It is not India that supports religious fanaticism: it is again the United States. For America'sselfish policies, India has to pay heavily and South Asia as a whole has to suffer as a result. But who has the guts to pull up George Bush? Dr Manmohan Singh? Ha, ha!
It was the United States that originally set up the Taliban and the Al-Qaida to get the Russians thrown out of Afghanistan. It is now the same United States which is seeking Russian help to tame the Taliban! The irony is obvious. Only, the Taliban, under guidance from Pakistan'sISI, is now focusing its venom on India. The US now wants Russia desperately.