February 2010 Kabul attack
|February 2010 Kabul attack|
|Date||26 February 2010|
|Target||Kabul city center, Indian presence in Afghanistan|
|Suicide attack, armed gunmen|
|Perpetrators||ISI, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba|
The February 2010 Kabul attack on 26 February 2010 was a combined suicide bombing and shooting attack. A car bomb levelled the Arya Guesthouse, also known as the Hamid Guesthouse, popular with Indian doctors. Two armed attackers then entered the nearby Park Residence, housing other foreigners. One detonated a suicide bomb, and the other was shot dead. The Safi Landmark Hotel nearby was badly damaged by the blasts. At least 18 people were killed and 36 more were injured.
According to initial intelligence reports, the attack was directed against Indian presence in Afghanistan and was carried out by Pakistan-based militants.
In early 2010, U.S. and British forces launched a major military campaign in Marjah during which the Taliban suffered a series of setbacks.
In February 2010, India and Pakistan started peace talks for the first time since 2008 Mumbai attacks. The Taliban has strongly opposed Indian presence in Afghanistan, especially because India has extensively helped Northern Alliance forces in the past. Pakistan, an arch-rival of India, is also against the increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan and Pakistani intelligence agencies continue to maintain deep ties with the Taliban. India has contributed more than $2 billion for reconstruction in Afghanistan and has close ties with president Hamid Karzai who was educated in India. Most of Indian aid goes into building roads, electrical power plants and providing health care. American intelligence believe that a previous attack on Indian embassy in Kabul was supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.
Hamid Guest House and Park Residence the two guest houses targeted are located in the Shar-e-Naw neighborhood of Kabul. The first assault included a suicide car bomb attack next to Hamid Guest house frequented by Indian nationals in Kabul. It left a crater 12 feet across and 8 feet deep. Soon after the car bomb exploded, armed militants stormed Park Residence which is popular with Europeans which resulted in a firefight that lasted for more than 90 minutes.
Of the 18 people dead, nine were Indian nationals. Three Afghan police officers, a French filmmaker Severin Blanchet and an Italian diplomat Pietro Antonio Colazza were also among those dead.
- Major (Dr.) L. Jyotin Singh of Army Medical Corps
- Major Deepak Yadav of Army Education Corps
- Nitish Chhibber, Assistant at the Consulate General of India in Kandahar
- Indo-Tibetan Border Police constable Roshan Lal
- Engineer Bhola Ram
- Tabla player Ustad Nawab Khan
The Times of India reported that among the dead were Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel stationed in Afghanistan. The dead also included Indian physicians treating poor Afghan children at the Indira Gandhi childrens hospital. Major Jyotin Singh was one of the doctors from the Indian army's Medical Corps who lost his life in preventing the attack. Major Jyotin Singh was unarmed but physically prevented the suicide bomber from entering the Arya guesthouse saving many lives.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack within hours. Their spokesman Mujahid said that the attack was not specifically targeted against India, but against Europeans and Americans. The next week, however, Afghan intelligence officials said the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba was involved in the attacks, saying in a TV interview they were "very close" to proving that "this attack was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba network, who are dependent on the Pakistan military."  U.S. intelligence officials and Pakistani analysts have said that Lashkar-e-Taiba militants have been training with associates of the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. Indian officials suspect that the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba worked in concert.
A report in the New York Times suggested that Pakistan and its agencies could be responsible for the attack. A U.S. intelligence report says Pakistan "has continued to provide support to its militant proxies, such as Haqqani Taliban, Gul Bahadur group, and Commander Nazir group." Analyst Jeremy Page feared that the attacks could hamper the ongoing peace talks between India and Pakistan.
- India — The Foreign Minister of India, S.M. Krishna, called this attack as desperate attempt to "undermine the friendship between India and Afghanistan."
- Afghanistan — Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, labeled the assault as a "terrorist attack against Indian citizens." He also said that the "attacks on Indian citizens will not affect relations between India and Afghanistan."
- United Kingdom — The spokesman of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the United Kingdom condemned the attacks "in the strongest possible terms."
- United Nations — The UN released a statement calling the attack on civilians in Kabul a "senseless disregard for human life."
- Canada — Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon stated "Canada condemns in the strongest terms the attack that occurred in Kabul’s Shar-e-Naw district today that has reportedly killed 17 people, including two Afghan policemen, and injured several others."
- Turkey —Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack. It released a statement "Turkey was resolved to act in solidarity with the Afghan government and would continue to support Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism and extremism."
- Italy —Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi released a statement "learned with sadness the news of the death of the diplomatic adviser Pietro Antonio Colazzo in today's attack in Kabul. A faithful servant of the state, who died doing his job in a country tormented by horrific terrorist acts."
- France — French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner was quoted as saying "I salute the memory of our compatriot Severin Blanchet. He was a privileged partner in French cultural action in Afghanistan. We will pursue with determination the work that he had started with such generosity and solidarity."
- United States — U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer in a statement said "I offer sincere condolences to the Government of India and the families, friends, and loved ones of those injured and killed in yesterday's tragic attack in Kabul," 
- Associated Press (27 February 2010). "Suicide bombers strike in heart of Kabul; 17 dead". The Philippine Star.
- Ben Farmer (26 Feb 2010). "Suicide bombers target Kabul hotels killing seventeen". Daily Telegraph.
- Indian Express: ‘I looked at the gate, it was gone’, The Indian Express, 2010-02-27
- Kabul blames Pakistani militants for attack on Indians
- Taliban attacks in Kabul; insurgents not crippled, USA Today, 2010-02-26
- Taliban Kill at Least 17 in Kabul, The Wall Street Journal, 2010-02-26
- Early Morning Explosions Kill 17 in Afghan Capital, Voice of America, 2010-02-26
- Guesthouses Used by Foreigners in Kabul Hit in Deadly Attacks, The New York Times, 2010-02-27
- Bodies of Kabul blast victims flown home
- Kabul attack: 2 armymen among 9 Indians dead, special plane being to bring bodies, The Times of India, 2010-02-26
- Blast part of effort to drive India out?
- Indian outrage at ‘heinous’ attack in Kabul
- Taliban says Kabul bombs meant to drive Americans out
- Afghan intelligence spokesman Sayed Ansari said on 2 March 2010 that Lashkar was involved because the suicide bombers were heard speaking Urdu and searching for Indian victims. Karin Brulliard (2 March 2010). "Afghan intelligence ties Pakistani group Lashkar-i-Taiba to recent Kabul attack". Washington Post.
- Afghan intelligence spokesman Saeed Ansari said the gunmen appeared to have detailed knowledge, including names, of Indian guests at the hotels. In an interview aired on Tolo TV, RTA and Shamshad broadcast stations in Kabul, he also claimed the Taliban "had no knowledge" of the Kabul attacks up to five hours after they began. Rahim Faiez and Kay Johnson, Associated Press (2 March 2010). "Official: Pakistani group behind Kabul attacks". Tampa Bay Online.
- Fears that India will blame Pakistan for deaths in Kabul attack
- Afghanistan capital Kabul hit by suicide attack, BBC, 2010-02-26
- Nine Indians killed in Taliban’s Kabul attack, Deccan Herald, 2010-02-26
- British PM condemns Kabul bombings, Hindustan Times, 2010-02-26
- UN condemns deadly attack in Afghan capital, United Nations
- Canada Condemns Deadly Attack in Kabul
- Turkish Foreign Ministry Condemns Suicide Attacks in Kabul, Journal of Turkish Weekly, 2010-02-27
- Berlusconi lauds Italian diplomat killed in Kabul, Taiwan News, 2010-02-26
- French Filmmaker Severin Blanchet Killed in Kabul, ABC News, 2010-02-26
- US, France condemn Kabul attack, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, 2010-02-27