This was waiting to happen

July 8th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by ANI  


By Prem Prakash
London, July 8 (ANI): The tragedy in Kabul was waiting to happen for a long time. India has been lucky that it did not happen earlier. Why? That can only be answered by the perpetrators of this bombing.
The Indian Embassy in Kabul is located right on a busy main road, with just a narrow footpath and the boundary wall separating it by a few feet from the traffic. Inside the compound main building has hardly any setback.
Even the Ambassador’’s office is hardly at the farthest end of the building. If the old building has been retained as I had known it, then all I can say that India is lucky that her Ambassador has escaped the attack.
The fact that Indian Embassy had been a target or could be a target should have been more than clear to India’’s security establishment. What was their response? Can the steel gates withstand a determined bombing? The physical loss could have been far greater had the bomber packed a few more kilos of explosives.
To keep the Embassy building and the visa section in an area where it existed from the happy days of King Zahir Shah and Daud can only be termed as a sheer act of negligence and foolhardy. And to expect a couple of armed guards at the main entrance to be a deterrent to any attacker speaks volumes of those who planned the security for the Indian embassy.
India should have long ago shifted the Embassy away from this highly vulnerable location. Having failed to do so it should have found some way to get the Afghans to restrict traffic on the road. The visa section should not have been located there after the Embassy reopened in the post-Taliban era.
India’’s security establishment seems hardly ever ready to learn. It is strange that something that was always clear even to a layperson was ignored by the Government of India’’s security czars. They will now fly from Delhi to Kabul to assess the situation - a formality.
The residence of India’’s Ambassador in Kabul is also bang on the main road opposite to the place where the Afghan Television is located. That building has some setback from the outer boundary wall. I bet the wall has not been secured enough or raised to make it withstand any attack ?
Let us hope and pray that the security lesson will now be learnt and the country will ensure that all other Indian centres are properly secured and protected.
(Mr. Prem Prakash, Chairman of the ANI, has covered events in Afghanistan for over three decades.) (ANI)

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