Indian team heads to Kabul to assess situation (Lead)

July 7th, 2008 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) An Indian delegation headed by a senior diplomat is leaving for Kabul to assess the “emergency situation” following the terror attack on the Indian embassy Monday in which four Indians are amongst the at least 44 killed. The delegation, which would be flying out “immediately”, is headed by Nalin Surie, secretary (west), Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee said here while condemning the “dastardly attack” on the Indian mission in the Afghanistan capital.

The dead in the attack include Defence Attache Brigadier R.D. Mehta and Press Counsellor V. Venkat Rao. The others - Ajay Panthia and Roop Singh - are from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which protects the Indian mission. An Afghan employee of the embassy, Niyamatullah, has also been killed.

“It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I announce that in the terrorist attack on our mission in Kabul we have lost five of our personnel,” the minister said.

He said the government offered its “deepest condolences to the families and to the families of the others who were killed in the dastardly attack”.

A defence ministry official added that an Indian Air Force IL-76 aircraft would soon leave for Kabul to bring back the bodies of the Indians.

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