41 Killed in Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul

The bomb detonated as two diplomatic vehicles left the embassy, the Associated Press reported. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian government officials condemned the attack.

Many of those injured were at the embassy were Afghans waiting in line outside the building to obtain Indian visas.

“We heard an explosion, then the dust and glass hit our faces,” a local resident said, according to CNN. “After that we saw that people were dead and lying everywhere.”

Karzai called the bombing “the work of the enemies of Afghanistan’s friendship with India.” He added, “India has made a significant contribution to development and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Resorting to these types of hellish acts will not damage the friendly relationship between Afghanistan and India.”

NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, reporting from Kabul, also acknowledged Afghanistan’s growing relationship with India as the cause of the bombing, coupled an “increased insurgent movement” from Pakistan.

The Indian ambassador in Kabul was making arrangements for medical assistance, the Indian Ministry for External Affairs said, adding “the government of India strongly condemns this cowardly terrorist attack on the its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan. Such acts of terror will not deter us from fulfilling our commitments to the government and people of Afghanistan,” CNN reported.

Afghan officials have blamed Pakistani militants for a recent rash of violence in the eastern region of the country. Last month, Karzai said he would launch a counter-attack against militants at the border if the Pakistani government does not intervene, the AP reported.

The AP also reported that Pakistani officials have denied involvement in the attack. Pakistan, a rival of India since its violent split nearly 61 years ago, was once a visible supporter of the Taliban, but the Islamabad government condemned the militant Islamist group after their association with attacks United States on the Sept. 11.

A Taliban spokesman also denied ties to Monday’s attack.

“Whenever we do a suicide attack, we confirm it,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, according to the AP. “The Taliban did not do this one.”

Earlier theories about the bomb’s target involved the heavily guarded Afghan Interior Ministry headquarters, which is located across the street from the Indian Embassy, NPR reported. In fall 2006, 12 people were killed and more than 40 were injured when a suicide bomber struck the Interior Ministry.

Afghanistan’s eastern province has seen increased violence following recent U.S.-led airstrikes against Taliban militants, however, most of the country’s violence has been outside of Kabul.