Kabul blames Pakistan for deadly bomb attack
April 21, 2016
KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomb attack in Kabul earlier this week that left more than 64 people dead and hundreds more injured was likely planned in Pakistan, Afghan officials said Thursday.
The accusation could strain already frayed relations between the two countries.
Afghanistan often accuses Pakistan of aiding and abetting the Taliban, who are thought to control more Afghan territory than at any time since 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion ousted them from power. President Ashraf Ghani has said that peace and stability in Afghanistan can be achieved only with Pakistan’s full cooperation.
“The initial evidence we have from Tuesday’s incident, suggests that the attack was organized outside Afghanistan,” said Javed Faisal, spokesman for Abdullah Abduallh, the chief executive. Faisal said he would not provide more information until an investigation concluded.
The finding led Abdullah to postpone a two-day visit to Pakistan, an act Faisal said is intended “to send a message” to Islamabad about Kabul’s frustration. No new date has been set for the visit, which was originally scheduled for May 2-3.
Pakistan is a member of a four-party group, along with Afghanistan, the United States and China, that has been trying to get the Taliban to participate in peace talks with Kabul.
Officials said Pakistan’s main role ought to be to pressure the Taliban to enter negotiations. The insurgent group has so far rejected the invitation.
“Tuesday’s attack proved that insurgents are still well supported, well financed, and well trained within Pakistan. This means Pakistan did not do much, or they did not deliver on their words,” Faisal said.
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the coordinated attack on an Afghan intelligence agency office in central Kabul. It included a massive car bomb that exploded during morning rush hour and shook buildings throughout the capital.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday strongly condemned the violence and expressed “solidarity with the government and brotherly people of Afghanistan.”
Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.