India asks Afghanistan for information on Haqqani Network

India asks Afghanistan for information on Haqqani Network

India has asked the Afghanistan government to provide any information it can on two terrorist leaders of the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network who are being interrogated in Kabul.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, during his visit to Kabul on Wednesday, called on new Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Doval met with new Afghanistan security adviser Hanif Atmar and discussed bilateral security cooperation, assuring his Afghan counterpart that New Delhi would continue supporting Kabul even after troops of the US-led International Security Assistance Force are pulled out at the end of the year.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the two also spoke about attacks the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Toiba carried out on the India’s embassy in Kabul, as well as consulates in Jalalabad and Herat. Atmar is understood to have assured Doval that Kabul would share all relevant information that may come out from interrogating the two Haqqani Network leaders – Anas Haqqani and Hafiz Rashid.

New Delhi hopes the interrogation of the two leaders, whom the Afghan government declared arrested on October 14, will reveal substantial details about the Haqqani Network’s link with Pakistan’s military spy agency – the Inter Services Intelligence. Anas is the son of Haqqani Network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani and brother of its current head Sirajuddin Haqqani, while Hafiz is a senior commander of the terrorist organisation.

The Haqqani Network was responsible for the deadly attacks on Indian Embassy on July 7, 2008, and October 8, 2009. The 2008 attack killed four Indians – a diplomat, an Indian Army officer and two Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel – and 54 others. No Indian was killed in the 2009 attack, but 17 Afghans lost lives and 63 were hurt. The terrorist organisation is also suspected to have a role in the coordinated strikes in Kabul on February 26, 2010, when nine Indians, including a doctor and two Army officers, were killed.

Deposing before American Senate’s Armed Services Committee in September 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, had blamed the Haqqani Network for attacks on the Indian Embassy in Kabul and said the terror group had acted “as a veritable arm” of the ISI of Pakistan. New Delhi suspects the ISI had also helped the LeT carry out attacks on Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Herat on August 3, 2013, and May 23, 2014, respectively.

According to sources, India expects that Anas and Hafiz will divulge important information on the ISI’s role in engineering attacks on Indian interests. Pakistan, meanwhile, has expressed its keenness to have “strategic depth” in Afghanistan.

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