I Did Not Say Indians Were Not Targeted: Holbrooke

In the face of US media reports that Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) searched for Indians in last week’s deadly attack in Kabul, a top US diplomat has regretted his remarks suggesting Indians were not targeted.

“I regret any misunderstanding caused by my comments on the recent terrorist attack in Kabul, which claimed the lives of 6 Indians and at least ten citizens of other nations,” US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard C Holbrooke said on Friday.

“I did not say Indians were not targeted, but that initially it looked like the target was not an official Indian facility,” he said. “Early reports on events like this are often unreliable, and I try not to jump to conclusions.”

Reacting to the comments by the special envoy, official sources had said these were surprising considering the fact that the Afghan government has clearly stated that attack was against Indians and carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), whose sworn agenda is to target Indian interests.

Seven Indians, including three Major-rank army officers, associated with developmental projects were killed and nine others, including four army officers, were injured in the attack in Kabul last week that was reminiscent of 26/11.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has termed it as an attack on Indians.

“We all know that Indian citizens have and continue to be targeted by terrorists, including inside Afghanistan,” Holbrooke said adding, “My heart goes out to the families of all of the victims.”

“The Afghan people and international community deeply appreciate the very substantial humanitarian and reconstruction assistance that India provides Afghanistan,” he said in a bid to soothe any ruffled feathers in New Delhi.

“The willingness of India to take risks and make sacrifices to help Afghanistan is a testament to India’s commitment to global peace and prosperity and a vital part of the international commitment to Afghanistan’s future,” Holbrooke said.

At a media briefing here Tuesday Holbrooke had said, “First of all, in regard to this attack, I don’t accept the fact that this was an attack on an Indian facility like the embassy.”

“There were foreigners, non-Indian foreigners hurt. It was a soft target. And let’s not jump to conclusions,” he told reporters when asked how Indians in Afghanistan could feel safe in the wake of last week’s attack.

“I understand why everyone in Pakistan and everyone in India always focuses on the other. But please, let’s not draw a conclusion which – for which there’s no proof,” he said.

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