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40 die in attack outside Indian Embassy in Kabul

SHELL-SHOCKED: The scene outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, moments after a suicide bomber struck on Monday killing 40 people.

SHELL-SHOCKED: The scene outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, moments after a suicide bomber struck on Monday killing 40 people.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: AFP

Agencies & Delhi Bureau

KABUL\NEW DELHI: Over 40 people, including four Indians, were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his bomb-laden car into the gates of the Indian Embassy in Kabul on Monday morning, diplomatic sources said. Over 140 people were injured.

Others killed in the attack, the first of this magnitude on an Indian mission, were local security personnel and Afghans who had queued up for visas to travel to India.

An Indian diplomat, V. Venkateswara Rao, and the military attaché, Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta, were killed as their car was entering the compound while jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police were questioning the suicide bomber at 10 a.m. The jawans, Ajai Pathaniya and Roop Singh, were also killed on the spot along with Niamatullah, an Afghan employee of the embassy, Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee told newspersons in New Delhi.

“The government of India strongly condemns this cowardly terrorist attack on its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. Such acts of terror will not deter us from fulfilling our commitments to the government and the people of Afghanistan,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

About 10 Afghan security personnel were among those dead or injured. Several shops across the road, including the Indian Airlines office, were damaged and many Afghan shopkeepers injured.

An IAF transport plane left for Kabul in the evening to bring the bodies of the Indian victims.

A special team led by senior diplomat Nalin Suri has rushed to the Afghan capital to review security measures and interact with local officials to improve safety measures for the nearly 3,000 Indians working at missions and development projects in the country. It includes representatives from the Foreign Office and the Home Ministry besides trauma specialists.

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