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With terror as top agenda, Karzai arrives

With terror as top agenda, Karzai arrives

Author: Indrani Bagchi
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 2, 2008
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Terrorism_tops_agenda_as_Karzai_arrives_in_India/articleshow/3322416.cms

Introduction: Kabul Embassy Suicide Bomber Hamza Is From Pak

While Afghan President Hamid Karzai spent the weekend thundering away at Pakistan and its deepening terrorist roots, India has taken a more measured response.

On Sunday night, as Karzai touched down in New Delhi on a state visit, the tone of the visit has been set - terrorism is on top of everybody's agenda. The difference between Manmohan Singh and Karzai is that while the latter is talking about the Pakistan problem publicly, India has chosen to give the message privately to Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani. This is because Singh doesn't want to toss the peace process with Pakistan or the ceasefire out of the window.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the bombing of India's Kabul mission wasn't any ordinary terror attack. Apart from the identity of the suicide bomber-22-year-old Hamza Shakoor from Gujranwala district in Pakistan -the intelligence about the imminent attack was remarkably precise, giving an indication about the centres of planning and execution. As information about the attack filters out, it's becoming clear that the damage could have been much greater. The original vehicle that was planned to be used to ram into the Indian embassy was not an SUV but an oil tanker. That could have created a fireball, which would have consumed much more than the Indian embassy. This was scaled down to the Toyota Corrolla later.

In fact, after Afghan and Indian intelligence revealed the Pakistani connection, NSA M K Narayanan spoke to his counterparts in Washington to be told the same thing by top US intelligence officials. When CIA official Stephen Kappes visited Islamabad on a secret trip to tell Pakistan that the US knew the ISI was behind the Kabul attack, few were aware that he was flying in from Kabul. Both India and the US had shared notes by then on the source and nature of the attack and it was this information that was presented to the Pakistanis.

In the past weeks, what has been unusual is that it has been the US and Afghanistan that have spoken the loudest on Pakistan's role in the embassy attack. This has been good for India-because it spreads the credibility net much further. The Indian government is unlikely to scale up its rhetoric against Pakistan too much, because it is reluctant to lose the benefits of the peace process so soon.

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