4 Indians killed in Kabul attack; envoy was target

Ambassador Sinha escapes by skipping event at guesthouse

4 Indians killed in Kabul attack; envoy was target

The Indian envoy to Afghanistan was the target of Wednesday’s terrorist attack on Park Palace guesthouse in Kabul where 14 people, including four Indians, were killed.

Ambassador Amar Sinha, who was invited to a concert by Afghan classical singer Altaf Hussain, survived the Taliban attack because he skipped the event and instead attended a private dinner at the residence of a senior embassy official.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s special envoy for good governance, Ahmad Zia Massoud, said that militants attacked the guesthouse thinking Sinha would be present there.

Several Afghan Army officials, who have undergone training at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, a top commander of the Afghan Army, governor of an important province and a key minister in the Afghan cabinet were also present at the dinner, sources told Deccan Herald.

The four Indian victims are: Mathew George and Martha Farrell, both from Kerala, R K Bhatti from Chandigarh and Dr Satish Chandra from Andhra Pradesh.

The gunfire began just when the concert was about to start.

The terrorists went from room to room searching for people. The seven-hour assault triggered explosions and bursts of gunfire. All the attackers were killed in the siege. The Kolala Pushta area, home to several international guesthouses and hotels, is in the vicinity of Afghanistan’s  interior ministry. India will now undertake a detailed security review of its mission in Kabul and consulates in Herat and Jalalabad.

The security agencies have advised officials in Afghanistan to avoid public functions where they can be targeted by terrorists. Five Afghan nationals and one each from the US, UK, Italy, Kazakhstan and Pakistan were killed in the attack. The terrorists were eliminated by the Afghan forces after a seven-hour gun battle.

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