Compensation for families of Afghan victims announced while Delhi’s ties with Islamabad come under strain

In the midst of tragedy following the foiled attack on the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad, India warmed up to Afghanistan by announcing a generous compensation package for Afghans who had fallen, or were injured, during the strike.

The bonding between New Delhi and Kabul contrasted sharply with the sudden dip in India’s ties with Pakistan after Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner was summoned to South Block on Tuesday.

India sees Pakistani instigation behind the Jalalabad attack but the immediate provocation for summoning the Pakistani diplomat was the cross-border firing that killed five Indian troops patrolling the increasingly fragile Line of Control (LoC) between the two countries, on Monday night.

In Jalalabad, Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha announced compensation – described as “token assistance” – of $10,000 (about Rs. 6 lakhs) to the families of each of the victims. He also announced a reward of $20,000 for the Afghan security personnel who were on duty outside the Consulate when the attack took place. In addition, $2,000 were announced for the Afghan soldier, who gunned down one of the suicide bombers, and stopped the attackers in their tracks.

During his visit to Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, Mr. Sinha met the Governor of Nangarhar Province as well as the families of the victims who died in the suicide attack.

While visiting the city hospital, the Ambassador announced that New Delhi would handover $20,000 to the local government for the treatment of those who were injured in the attack. Another $10,000 would be given to the local government for the repair of the mosques which were damaged during bombings. A number of children who were returning after studying Koran were also killed in these bombings.

The attack in Jalalabad illustrated the sharp upturn in civilian casualties in 2013. According to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, there has been a 23 per cent increase in civilian casualties in the country during the first half of 2013 compared to a similar period last year. Jalalabad, a bustling commercial city, continues to remain restive with one more person dying on Tuesday following the detonation of a magnetic mine that had been attached to a police vehicle.