Menon Arrives in Kabul to Discuss Security of Indians

Carrying certain proposals for ensuring security of about 4,000 Indians in Afghanistan, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon arrived here today to discuss the issue with the Afghan leadership.

During his two-day visit, Menon will meet President Hamid Karzai and some other leaders of Afghanistan.

Soon after his arrival, Menon held discussions with Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad with regard to safety of 4,000 nationals working on various developmental and reconstruction projects across Afghanistan in the backdrop of last Friday’s attack here.

Indian government has evolved certain proposals for the security of its nationals and these will be discussed by Menon with the Afghan authorities, sources said.

The proposals include setting up of protected venues where the Indians working on projects could be housed.

There are also suggestions for deploying security personnel at places where Indians work.

“There is a limit to what Indian government can do there. Ultimately, the Afghan authorities have to take steps to secure the Indians there,” a source said.

The sources noted that Afghan government has always been cooperative in this regard and expressed confidence that it would take further steps to upgrade security of Indians.

As part of India’s USD 1.3 billion assistance, about 4,000 Indians are working on various projects in areas like healthcare, power, education and social sector.

The review of their security has been necessitated after last Friday’s attack in two hotels in Kabul, targeting Indians specifically. Seven Indians, including three Major rank army officers, were killed and nine others, including five army officers were injured in the attack.

The attack of February 26 reflected a change of strategy by the terrorists as they chose soft targets rather than secure installations like the Embassy or Consulates and their protected personnel as in the past.

After the terror strike, Karzai assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his government would take extra measures to protect Indians.

Besides discussing security, Menon is also expected to enquire about the progress of investigation into the incident.

Afghan authorities have said the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba. However, investigators suspect involvement of Taliban faction of Haqqani too.

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