Kabul

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Posted by r2d2 05/05/2009 @ 04:14

Tags : kabul, afghanistan, central asia, asia, world

News headlines
Attack on key US Afghan base kills two soldiers - Washington Post
KABUL (Reuters) - An attack on the main US base in Afghanistan killed two soldiers of the NATO-led force on Sunday, the alliance said, in the first known casualties caused by hostile fire on the base since the Taliban's ouster....
US Journalist Held Captive by Taliban Safely Escapes - Washington Post
Rohde traveled to Kabul, the Afghan capital, in early November, and was kidnapped after he, Ludin and their driver, Assadullah Mangal, set out in a car for a prearranged interview with a Taliban commander. He told colleagues at the Times' bureau in...
KABUL - NATO to send up to 10000 troops in Afghanistan ahead of ... - Xinhua
BEIJING, June 19 -- The visiting NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hope Scheffer on Wednesday announced sending additional troops to Afghanistan ahead of the second presidential election after the fall of Taliban regime set for August 20 this year....
Police discover explosive device near Afghan capital - Xinhua
KABUL, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Afghan police during routine patrol found explosive material from outskirts of the capital city Kabul and defused it, a press release of Interior Ministry said Sunday. "The explosive device was discovered from Farman Khil...
US does not back any candidate in Afghan polls: ambassador - AFP
KABUL (AFP) — The United States is not backing any of the 41 contenders for the upcoming August 20 presidential elections in Afghanistan, Washington's ambassador to Kabul told reporters on Sunday. Quoting US President Barak Obama's speech on the...
Reporters in Afghanistan face restrictions - Los Angeles Times
By David Zucchino Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan -- Journalist Qais Azimy and a colleague spent three nights as unwelcome guests at Kabul's fortress-like National Directorate of Security headquarters this week before they were released....
Afghan President's Alliances With Warlords Raise Concerns - RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
By Abubakar Siddique It is a conspicuous show of power and wealth: Afghan strongmen roam the streets of Kabul in model sports utility vehicles surrounded by bands of armed bodyguards. They want to be called "mujahedin" freedom fighters -- those who led...
'New York' is not a US bashing film, says John Abraham - Press Trust of India
However, their whole world changes after the 9/11 attacks. This is John's second film with director Kabir Khan after "Kabul Express". "Kabir's style of story telling is real, honest and linear. It is the same as 'Kabul Express'....
'Bravest woman in Afghanistan' - Washington Times
By Jason Motlagh (Contact) | Sunday, June 21, 2009 KABUL | Critics dismiss her as foolish. Some even want her dead. For Malalai Joya, an outspoken women's rights activist and scourge of Afghan warlords, controversy is a kind of oxygen....
Bringing Japanese hospitality to an Afghan valley - Canada.com
The Silk Road Hotel in Bamiyan is an unlikely find at the end of a bone-jarring, nine-hour drive on dirt roads from the capital Kabul. The hotel offers authentic Japanese food, immaculate rooms, electricity round the clock and wireless Internet....

Kabul

Kabul City

Kābul (Persian: کابل - Kābul; /kɑː'bol/; Pashto کابل kɑbəl), is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, with a population of approximately three million. The total provincial population of Kabul is 3.5 million people. It is an economic and cultural centre, situated 5,900 feet (1,800 m) above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush mountains along the Kabul River. Kabul is linked with Ghazni, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif via a long beltway (circular highway) that stretches across the country. It is also linked by highways with Pakistan to the east and southeast and Tajikistan to the north. A highway is being rebuilt in the west to modern standards to link Afghanistan to Iran.

Kabul's main products include munitions, cloth, furniture and beet sugar, but, since 1978, a state of nearly continuous war has limited the economic productivity of the city.

Kabul is over 3,000 years old, many empires have long fought over the city for its strategic location along the trade routes of Southern and Central Asia. In 1504, Babur captured Kabul and used it as his headquarters until 1526, before his conquest of India. In 1776, Timur Shah Durrani made it the capital of modern Afghanistan. The population of the city is predominantly Persian-speaking.

The city of Kabul is thought to have been established between 2000 BCE and 1500 BCE. In the Rig Veda (composed between 1700–1100 BCE) the word "Kubhā" is mentioned, which appears to refer to the Kabul River. There is a reference to a settlement called Kabura by the Persian Achaemenids around 400 BCE which may be the basis for the use of the name Kabura by Ptolemy. Alexander the Great conquered Kabul during his conquest of the Persian Empire. The city later became part of the Seleucid Empire before becoming part of the Mauryan Empire. The Bactrians founded the town of Paropamisade near Kabul, but it was later ceded to the Mauryans in the 1st century BCE.

The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom captured Kabul from the Mauryans in the early 2nd century BCE, then lost the city to their subordinates in the Indo-Greek Kingdom in the mid 2nd century BCE. Indo-Scythians expelled the Indo-Greeks by the mid 1st century BCE, but lost the city to the Kushan Empire nearly 100 years later. It was conquered by Kushan Emperor Kujula Kadphises in the early 1st century CE and remained Kushan territory until at least the 3rd century CE. Kabul was one of the two capital cities of the Kushans.

Around 230 CE the Kushans were defeated by the Sassanid Empire and were replaced by Sassanid vassals known as the Kushanshas or Indo-Sassanids. In 420 CE the Kushanshahs (Kushan kings) were driven out of Afghanistan by the Chionites tribe known as the Kidarites, who were then replaced in the 460s by the Hephthalites. The Hephthalites were defeated in 565 CE by a coalition of Persian and Turkish armies, and most of the realm fell to those Empires.

Kabul became part of the surviving Shahi Kingdom of Kapisa, who were also known as Kabul-Shahan. Barhatkin was the first Shahi King followed by King Khingala about 5th Century .

The rulers of Kabul-Shahan built a huge defensive wall around the city to protect it from invaders. This wall has survived until today and is considered a historical site.

In 674, the Islamic invasions reached modern-day Afghanistan . Kabul to the east fell in 871 despite the heroic resistance of the Hindushahi .. However, it was not until the 9th century when Ya'qub bin Laith as-Saffar, a coppersmith turned ruler, established Islam in Kabulistan. Over the remaining centuries to come the city was successively controlled by the Samanids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Timurids, Mughols, Durranis, and finally by the Barakzais.

Nadir Shah of Persia captured the city in 1738 but was assassinated nine years later. Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan military commander and personal bodyguard of Nader, took the throne in 1747, asserted Pashtun rule and further expanded his new Afghan Empire. His son Timur Shah Durrani, after inheriting power, transferred the capital of Afghanistan from Kandahar to Kabul in 1776. Timur Shah died in 1793 and was succeeded by his son Zaman Shah Durrani.

In 1826, the kingdom was claimed by Dost Mohammed and taken from him by the British Indian Army in 1839 (see Afghan Wars), who installed the unpopular puppet Shah Shuja. An 1841 local uprising resulted in the loss of the British mission and the subsequent Massacre of Elphinstone's army of approximately 16,000 people, which included civilians and camp followers on their retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. In 1842 the British returned, plundering Bala Hissar in revenge before retreating back to India. Dost Mohammed returned to the throne.

The British invaded in 1878 as Kabul was under Sher Ali Khan's rule, but the British residents were again massacred. The invaders again came in 1879 under General Roberts, partially destroying Bala Hissar before retreating to India. Amir Abdur Rahman was left in control of the country.

In the early 20th century, King Amanullah Khan rose to power. His reforms included electricity for the city and schooling for girls. He drove a Rolls-Royce, and lived in the famous Darul Aman Palace. In 1919, after the Third Anglo-Afghan War, Amanullah announced Afghanistan's independence from foreign interventions at Eidgah Mosque. In 1929, Ammanullah Khan left Kabul because of a local uprising and his brother Nader Khan took control. King Nader Khan was assassinated in 1933 and his 19-year-old son, Zahir Shah, became the long lasting King of Afghanistan.

Kabul University opened for classes in early 1930s, and in 1940s, the city began to grow as an industrial center. The streets of the city began being paved in the 1950s.

In the 1960s, Kabul developed a cosmopolitan mood. The first Marks and Spencer store in Central Asia was built there. Kabul Zoo was inaugurated in 1967, which was maintained with the help of visiting German Zoologists.

In 1969, a religious uprising at the Pul-e Khishti Mosque protested the Soviet Union's increasing influence over Afghan politics and religion. This protest ended in the arrest of many of its organizers including Mawlana Faizani, a popular Islamic scholar.

In July 1973, Zahir Shah was ousted in a bloodless coup and Kabul became the capital of a republic under Mohammad Daoud Khan, the new President. In 1975 an east-west electric trolleybus system provided public transportation across the city. The system was built with assistance from Czechoslovakia.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on December 24, 1979, the Red Army occupied the capital. They turned the city into their command center during the 10-year conflict between the Soviet-allied government and the Mujahideen rebels. The American Embassy in Kabul closed on January 30, 1989. The city fell into the hands of local militias after the 1992 collapse of Mohammad Najibullah's pro-communist government. As these forces divided into warring factions, the city increasingly suffered. In December, the last of the 86 city trolley buses came to a halt because of the conflict. A system of 800 public buses continued to provide transportation services to the city.

By 1993 electricity and water in the city was completely out. At this time, Burhannudin Rabbani's militia (Jamiat-e Islami) held power but the nominal prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami began shelling the city, which lasted until 1996. Kabul was factionalised, and fighting continued between Jamiat-e Islami, Abdul Rashid Dostum and the Hezbi Wahdat. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed and many more fled as refugees. The United Nations estimated that about 90% of the buildings in Kabul were destroyed during these years.

Kabul was captured by the Taliban on September 26, 1996, publicly lynching ex-President Najibullah and his brother. During this time, all the fighting between rival groups came to an end. Burhannudin Rabbani, Gulbuddin Heckmatyar, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Ahmad Shah Massoud, and the rest all fled the city.

Approximately five years later, in October 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban abandoned Kabul in the following months because of extensive American bombing, while the Afghan Northern Alliance (former mujahideen or millias) came to retake control of the city. On December 20, 2001, Kabul became the capital of the Afghan Transitional Administration, which transformed to the present government of Afghanistan that is led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai.

Since the beginning of 2003, the city is slowly developing with the help of foreign investment. Security was provided by US (Operation Enduring Freedom) and NATO (ISAF) forces until late 2008. Currently, the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) provide security for most of the city.

Kabul has a semi-arid climate with precipitation concentrated in the winter (in the form of snow) and spring months. Summers run from June to September and are moderate, with highs in the low 30s and very low humidity. The autumn months of October and November have moderate temperatures and low humidity. Winters are harsh, snowy and long, lasting from December to March. Spring in Kabul starts in late March and is the wettest part of the year.

Kabul City is one of the 15 districts of Kabul Province, and is divided into 18 sectors. Each sector covers several neighborhoods of the city. The number of Kabul's sectors were increased from 11 to 18 in 2005.

Unlike other cities of the world, Kabul City has two independent councils or administrations at once: Prefecture and Municipality. The Prefect who is also the Governor of Kabul Province is appointed by the Ministry of Interior, and is responsible for the administrative and formal issues of the entire province. The Mayor of Kabul City is selected by the President of Afghanistan, who engages in the city's planning and environmental work.

The police and security forces belong to the prefecture and Ministry of Interior. The Chief of Police is selected by the Minister of Interior and is responsible for law enforcement and security of the city.

Kabul has a population between 2.5 to approximately 3 million people. The population of the city reflects the general multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-confessional characteristics of Afghanistan. According to the 2005 United Nations estimate, the population of Kabul City reached 2,994,000, while according to the 2006 estimates from the Central Statistics Office of Afghanistan, it is at 2,536,300.

There is no official governmental data on the exact ethnic make-up of the city. However, it appears that the Persian-speakers form the majority of the city's population, with Sunnite Tajiks being the largest group at approximately 45% , followed by Shi'ite Hazaras at 25%. There is also a sizable number of Persian-speaking Pashtuns. Pashto-speakers, also Sunnite and Pashtuns, form the most important minority, followed by the Turkic-speaking Uzbeks. There are also sizable numbers of Aimak, Baloch, Pashai, as well as Sikhs and Hindus who speak their native language as a mother tongue and Persian as the native language of Kabul.

Kabul International Airport serves the population of the city as a method of traveling to other cities or countries. The airport is a hub to Ariana Afghan Airlines, which is the national airlines carrier of Afghanistan. Kam Air, Pamir Airways, and Safi Airways also have their hubs in Kabul. Turkish Airlines has recently signed a partnership contract with Ariana Afghan Airlines to make travel from Europe and the Americas to Afghanistan with less connection waits. Airlines from other nations also use the airport to arrive and depart. Firms based in Dubai are also investing in Afghan air travel. The new $35 million dollar international terminal, paid for by the government of Japan, opened in 2008 for full operation. The new terminal is the first of three terminals to be opened so far. The other two will open once air traffic to the city increases.

For most passengers coming from Europe, Africa, Russia and North America, Istanbul is the connecting city for direct flights to Kabul. Passengers coming from the Middle East and the rest of Asia connect in Dubai for direct flights to Kabul. Direct flights between Kabul and Frankfurt have been put on a temporary hold until Ariana Afghan Airlines receives its five newer and safer Boeing planes, except for one Airbus that has weekly flights between the cities.

Kabul Airport also has a military air base which serves as the main airport for the Afghan National Air Corps. NATO also uses the Kabul Airport, but most military traffic is based in Bagram, just north of Kabul. The Afghan National Army protects the airport.

Kabul has its own public buses (Millie Bus / "National Bus") that take commuters on daily routes to many destinations throughout the city. The service currently has approximately 800 buses but is gradually expanding and upgrading with more buses being added. Plans are underway to reintroduce the modern trolleybuses that the city once had. Besides the buses, there are yellow taxicabs that can be spotted just about anywhere in and around the city. The Kabul bus system has recently discovered a new source of revenue in whole-bus advertising from MTN similar to "bus wrap" advertising on public transit in more developed nations. There is also an express bus that runs from the city center to Kabul International Airport.

Private vehicles are also on the rise in Kabul, with Land Rover, BMW, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai dealerships in the city. More people are buying new cars as the roads and highways are being improved. The average car driven in Kabul is a Toyota Corolla. With the exception of motorcycles many vehicles in the city operate on LPG. Gas stations are mainly private-owned but the fuel comes from Iran. Bikes on the road are a common sight in the city.

GSM/GPRS mobile phone services in the city are provided by Afghan Wireless, Etisalat, Roshan and MTN. In November 2006, the Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a US 64.5 million dollar agreement with a company (ZTE Corporation) on the establishment of a countrywide fibre optical cable network. This will improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services not just in Kabul but throughout the country. Internet was introduced in the city in 2002 and has been expanding rapidly.

There are a number of post offices throughout the city. Package delivery services like FedEx, TNT N.V., DHL and others are also available.

All public schools in Kabul reopened in 2002 and are improving every year. The majority of the city's boys and girls are now attending classes. Some of the well known public schools are Amani High School, Durrani High School, Ghulam Haider Khan High School, Sultan Razia School, etc.

The city's colleges and universities were also renovated after 2002. Some of them were recently developed while others existed since the early 1900s.

The old part of Kabul is filled with bazaars nestled along its narrow, crooked streets. Cultural sites include the Afghan National Museum, notably displaying an impressive statue of Surya excavated at Khair Khana, the ruined Darul Aman Palace, the Mausoleum of Emperor Babur and Chehlstoon Park, the Minar-i-Istiqlal (Column of Independence) built in 1919 after the Third Afghan War, the mausoleum of Timur Shah Durrani, and the imposing Id Gah Mosque (founded 1893). Bala Hissar is a fort destroyed by the British in 1879, in retaliation for the death of their envoy, now restored as a military college. The Minaret of Chakari, destroyed in 1998, had Buddhist swastika and both Mahayana and Theravada qualities.

Other places of interest include Kabul City Center, which is Kabul's first shopping mall, the shops around Flower Street and Chicken Street, Wazir Akbar Khan district, Babur Gardens, Kabul Golf Club, Kabul Zoo, Shah Do Shamshera and other famous Mosques, the Afghan National Gallery, Afghan National Archive, Afghan Royal Family Mausoleum, the OMAR Mine Museum, Bibi Mahroo Hill, Kabul Cemetery, and Paghman Gardens.

Tappe-i-Maranjan is a nearby hill where Buddhist statues and Graeco-Bactrian coins from the 2nd century BC have been found. Outside the city proper is a citadel and the royal palace. Paghman and Jalalabad are interesting valleys north and east of the city.

As of October 2007, there are approximately 16 licensed banks in Kabul: including Da Afghanistan Bank, Afghanistan International Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Kabul Bank, Azizi Bank, Punjab National Bank, Habib Bank and others. Western Union offices are also found in many locations throughout the city.

A small sized indoor shopping mall (Kabul City Center) with a 4-star (Safi Landmark) hotel on the top six floors opened in 2005. A 5-star Serena Hotel also opened in 2005. Another 5-star Marriott Hotel is under construction. The landmark InterContinental Hotel has also been refurbished and is in operation.

An initial concept design called the City of Light Development, envisioned by Dr. Hisham N. Ashkouri, Principal of ARCADD, Inc. for the development and the implementation of a privately based investment enterprise has been proposed for multi-function commercial, historic and cultural development within the limits of the Old City of Kabul along the Southern side of the Kabul River and along Jade Meywand Avenue, revitalizing some of the most commercial and historic districts in the City of Kabul, which contains numerous historic mosques and shrines as well as viable commercial activities among war damaged buildings. Also incorporated in the design is a new complex for the Afghan National Museum. Dr. Ashkouri has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with His Excellency Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad in Washington, DC to undertake this project and to develop it for actual implementation over the next 20 to 25 years. Dr. Ashkouri has presented the City of Light Plan to President Karzai and has received a letter of support from the President and the Minister of Urban Development in support of this project’s development.

About 4 miles (6 km) from downtown Kabul, in Bagrami, a 22-acre (9 ha) wide industrial complex has completed with modern facilities, which will allow companies to operate businesses there. The park has professional management for the daily maintenance of public roads, internal streets, common areas, parking areas, 24 hours perimeter security, access control for vehicles and persons. Another phase with additional 27 acres (11 ha) of land will be added immediately proceeding the first phase.

The city hosts the We Are the Future (WAF) center, a child care center giving children a chance to live their childhoods and develop a sense of hope. The center is managed under the direction of the mayor’s office and the international NGO. Glocal Forum serves as the fundraiser, program planner and coordinator for the WAF center. Launched in 2004, the program is the result of a strategic partnership between the Glocal Forum, the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation and Mr. Hani Masri, with the support of the World Bank, UN agencies and major companies.

A $25 million Coca-Cola bottling plant was opened in 2006. Financing was provided by a Dubai-based Afghan family. President Hamid Karzai formally opened the facility in an attempt to attract more foreign investment in the city.

In late 2007 the government announced that all the residential houses situated on mountains would be removed within a year so that trees and other plants can be grown on the hills. The plan is to try to make the city greener and provide residents with a more suitable place to live, on a flat surface. Once the plan is implemented it will provide water supply and electricity to each house. All the city roads will also be paved under the plan, which will solve transportation problems.

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2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul

2008 07 07 Kabul.jpg

The 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul was a suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on 7 July 2008 at 8:30 AM local time. The suspected suicide car bombing took place near the gates of the embassy while the officials were trying to get inside. The bombing killed 58 people and wounded 141. The Indian embassy, which is in the center of Kabul, is located across the street from the office of the Interior Ministry of the Government of Afghanistan and is close to several other government buildings. The bombing occurred on a busy, tree-lined street where people usually line up at the embassy gates to apply for visas to India.

The toll makes the suicide bombing the deadliest attack in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The embassy reopened on 14 July 2008 after one week of closure. On 1 August 2008, The New York Times reported allegations by unnamed U.S. officials that claimed members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency had aided the attack. A claim strongly denied by Pakistan. During the 15th SAARC summit summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured India that his government would carry out an independent investigation of the attack.

During the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, India offered intelligence and other forms of support to the coalition forces. After the overthrow of the Taliban, India established diplomatic relations with the newly-elected democratic government, provided aid and participated in Afghanistan's reconstruction efforts. Indo-Afghan relations strengthened in the wake of Afghanistan's persisting tensions and problems with Pakistan, which was suspected of sheltering and supporting the Taliban. Both nations also developed strategic and military cooperation against the insurgency. India pursued a policy of close cooperation with Afghanistan in order to gain influence in Central Asia and also to keep a check on Kashmiri militants that it alleges are operating in Afghanistan. By 2007, India had pledged US$850 million to Afghan reconstruction efforts, the largest amount from any country without a military presence in Afghanistan. India also provides training to Afghan National Army officers and military personnels at its training institutions, including the National Defence Academy and the School of Artillery at Devlali. India has helped Afghanistan in "capacity-building" by training Afghan pilots and technicians in operating Russian-origin Mi-35 helicopter gunships. India is also a supplier of military parts for Afghan Soviet-era tanks and aircraft. About 3,000 Indians are estimated to be working on various reconstruction and developmental projects in Afghanistan, and they have often been subjected to attacks by Taliban insurgents. In November 2005, after an incident in which an Indian national was kidnapped and murdered, India deployed 200 soldiers of the elite Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to provide security for Indian nationals and the projects supported by India. By 2008, ITBP's presence in Afghanistan was steadily increased to over 400 personnel. India is currently the largest regional donor of humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

India's growing influence in Afghanistan has upset pro-Taliban elements. The Times said in an editorial that with the United States and other NATO members unwilling to sustain long-term commitments to Afghanistan, the Taliban see India as the only regional enemy capable of resisting them.

According to the New York Times, India's external ministry officials have been raising the issue of security of Indian personnel in Afghanistan for months. The Indian consulate in Jalalabad was attacked twice by hand grenades in 2007. One soldier of the ITBP was killed and four others injured in a terrorist attack by the Taliban on 5 June 2008. In the aftermath of the attack, India's Home Ministry issued a warning to the ITBP, asking them to take necessary precautionary measures and also to remain at guard against fidayeen (suicide bombers) attacks. It also noted that the security being provided by the Afghan Police was "not up to the mark".

The car bomb detonated at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time on 7 July 2008. At the time of the explosion, people were lined up in front of the gates of the Indian embassy waiting to apply for visas. An explosive-packed Toyota Camry, driven by the suicide bomber, rammed into two Indian diplomatic vehicles entering the embassy and detonated. The gates to the embassy were blown off and the walls of some buildings in its compound were damaged. A plume of smoke and dust was seen rising from the center of Kabul city, and the explosion was heard several miles away. Several nearby shopkeepers also became immediate victims of the attack, and the nearby Indonesian embassy also suffered damage. Kabul Police immediately sealed off the area.

A statement released by the Afghan interior ministry said, "The initial findings of the ministry show that the main target of this attack has not been security forces like in most attacks but has been particularly planned to target the Indian embassy". There was immediate confusion and panic in the Indian embassy after the bomb blasts. According to a CNN reporter, a man who answered the phone at the Indian embassy abruptly hung up, saying, "We are not fine. All communications have been cut off". The Ministry of External Affairs of Government of India was reported to be in touch with India's ambassador to Afghanistan, Jayant Prasad. The Indian ambassador and his deputy were inside the building complex at the time of the explosion but were not hurt. Indian External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, called for an emergency meeting of officials in Delhi after the bomb attack to review security arrangements. An anonymous person reported that rumors said the Indian embassy had previously received bomb threats.

Most of the 58 dead were locals and included two top Indian officials. Senior Indian Army officer Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta was entering the embassy gates in a car along with V. Venkateswara Rao when the attack took place. Both were killed in the blast.

Six Afghan police constables were killed and five others sustained injuries. An Afghan Indian Embassy employee by the name of Niamutullah was also killed in the blast. The five Afghan guards outside the Indonesian Embassy were killed, and two Indonesian diplomats were injured in the attack.

Afghanistan's intelligence agency Riyast-i-Amniyat-i-Milli, India's Research and Analysis Wing and the United States' CIA are reported to be scanning vast volumes of intercepted communications and questioning informants to find some clues. According to CNN-IBN, Indian and Afghan agencies believe that the Pakistani Army's 324 Military Intelligence Battalion based in Peshawar had planned the attack on the Indian embassy and executed it in collaboration with either the Taliban or al-Qaida. Afghanistan's Interior Minister has stated that the suicide bombers were trained in Pakistan.

India's ambassador to Afghanistan, Jayant Prasad, stated that, after reviewing the scene, the main target of the attack was believed to be the Indian embassy building. He also added that, considering the huge amount of explosives used in the attack, it was clear that target was not top Indian diplomatic officials but the embassy itself. Bomb scene review further revealed that the embassy guard killed in the attack had his hand on the closed gates. The ambassador stated that it is likely that the guard did not open the gate because he saw a suspicious car driving behind an embassy vehicle. The suicide attacker then might have decided to explode his device near the gate rather than inside the embassy's compound. According to investigating officials, much of the impact was taken up by the sand filled blast barriers. These barriers, which were built across the embassy for added protection just one week before the blast, saved it from structural damage.

According to TOI the identity of the attacker was "22-year-old Hamza Shakoor from Gujranwala district in Pakistan." They also claimed the "intelligence about the imminent attack was remarkably precise, giving an indication about the centres of planning and execution." American officials, meanwhile, believe that the attack was conducted by a network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani.

During the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was backed by Pakistan, India had supported the opposition Northern Alliance. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, India opened four consulates in Herat, Mazari Sharif, Kandahar and Jalalabad and backed Hamid Karzai's government. India is Afghanistan's fifth-largest bilateral donor and its growing presence in post-war Afghanistan has caused much concern in Pakistan as it views Indian measures as a threat to its influence in the region. The President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai of favoring India. Islamabad has also reportedly accused Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad of providing arms and money to insurgents in Pakistan's troubled Balochistan region, a claim repeated by Urdu newspapers in Pakistan. Some analysts thus claim that Pakistan had a strong motive to target Indian nationals and their economic projects in Afghanistan.

Denying its involvement in the attacks, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement, "they (India) send secret military experts to Afghanistan and they train Afghan army. Had we carried out the attack, we would have claimed responsibility for it with pride since we have good reasons for it." The Taliban further stated that the attack had its roots in the regional Indo-Pakistan rivalry. On 8 July, Afghanistan stated that it had no doubts that the attack was carried out in collaboration with "foreign intelligence agencies", an implicit reference to Pakistan's ISI. However, Prime minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gillani denied any involvement of ISI in the attack and also remarked that his country had no interest in destabilizing Afghanistan. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated, "I haven't seen any evidence or proof that foreign agents were involved" and added that the United States was offering help to Afghan and Indian governments to investigate further.

On 1 August 2008, The New York Times reported that unnamed officials in the United States had confirmed Pakistani involvement in the anti-Indian attack. The newspaper reported allegations that the involvement was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and the perpetrators before the attack, which, however, were not detailed enough to warn of any specific attack. They want to say that the deputy director of the C.I.A., Stephen R. Kappes, had been ordered to Islamabad before the attack took place. US officials noted that Pakistani involvement in the attack calls into question the reliability of Pakistan as an ally in the American war on terror.. Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammed Sadiq, described the report as "total rubbish" and said there was no evidence of ISI involvement. "The foreign newspapers keep writing such things against ISI, and we reject these allegations." An alleged intercepted telephone conversation apparently revealed that ISI agents masterminded the operation. The United States also claimed to have arrested an ISI officer inside Afghanistan. United States President George W. Bush confronted Pakistani prime minister Yusuf Raza Gillani in Washington D.C. with evidence of ISI's involvement in the Kabul attack and warned that in the case of another attack he would have to take "serious action".

On 15 October, both India and Pakistan agreed to continue their dialogue to address all bilateral issues, including cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations. At the meeting, however, Islamabad denied any role of the ISI in the 7 July bombings of the Indian embassy in Kabul. Pakistan's National Security Advisor Mahmud Ali Durrani said "No No No Incorrect" when asked to comment on reports alleging that ISI masterminded the Kabul blasts. It was also clarified that the Kabul bombings will be discussed in detail at the meeting of the joint anti-terror mechanism later the same month.

On 23 October, it was reported that India had shared sensitive information with Pakistan that pointed towards the ISI's alleged complicity in the embassy bombing as both countries ended a special meeting of their joint-terror mechanism on a "positive" note.

A bomb was found on a bus transporting 12 Indian road construction workers of Border Roads Organization to Afghanistan on 8 July 2008 in Zaranj, Nimruz, a day after the attack on Indian embassy in Kabul. The engineers and workers on board reported having noticed a "suspicious package" after boarding the bus on the day, but it was only after further investigation that it was revealed that a remote-operated bomb had been placed on board. Provincial governor Ghulam Dastgir Azad placed the blame for the attempted bombing of the workers on Taliban militants, who have been responsible for more than a dozen worker deaths in the area over the last few years.

According to some defense analysts, India should increase its military presence in Afghanistan not only to protect Indian projects and nationals there, but also to aid the coalition forces to improve the overall security situation in the war-torn country. Gurmeet Kanwal, head of the Center for Land Warfare Studies, said, "I would say the time has come to live up to our responsibility. If it involves military intervention, so be it." C. Raja Mohan, an Indian foreign policy analyst, urged India's government to increase military presence in Afghanistan and also added "Afghanistan needs to be stabilized. Pakistan needs to be stabilized. This requires more drastic remedies." In April 2008 Afghanistan's Defense Minister formally requested India's help in counter-insurgency operations during his visit to New Delhi. India has already provided large-scale military equipment to the Afghan National Army and has also given crucial intelligence inputs to the United States-led coalition forces. Several members of the Afghan army have undergone anti-terrorist training in India and in April 2007, the Indian Army also sent a delegation to set up an army training school in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. In September 2007, India held a joint military exercise with the United Kingdom to train British forces in counter-insurgency operations, particularly those in Afghanistan. India also has an operational air force command at the Farkhor Air Base in neighboring Tajikistan. Indian Express said in an editorial, "after the Kabul bombing, India must come to terms with an important question that it has avoided debating so far. New Delhi cannot continue to expand its economic and diplomatic activity in Afghanistan, while avoiding a commensurate increase in its military presence there. For too long, New Delhi has deferred to Pakistani and American sensitivities about raising India's strategic profile in Afghanistan." However, some analysts have feared that if India joins the United States-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, it would harm the soft power it has gradually built in the region as a result of the widespread popularity of Bollywood films and Indian television soaps among Afghans.

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Battle of Kabul (1842)

The Battle of Kabul was fought from August to October, 1842, between British and Afghan forces. The British re-invaded Afghanistan to avenge the earlier defeat at Gandamak. The British won the battle.

The battle was seen as part of the ongoing struggles in Asia between the British and Imperial Russia. There was fear in India that Afghanistan could become a route for a Russian invasion.

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Source : Wikipedia