Herat attack by Lashkar, says Karzai

New Delhi :  Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has claimed that the banned Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toeba (LeT) was behind the abortive attack on the Indian consulate at Herat in Afghanistan last Friday.

“According to information given to us by a western intelligence agency, the perpetrators of the Herat attack belonged to the LeT,” he told an Indian TV network. He said it was in Islamabad’s interest to uproot the sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorists from Pakistan’s soil.

He also praised the Indo Tibetan Border Police and the National Security Forces of Afghanistan for their prompt response in neutralising the terrorists and gunning down all four of them. “Herat was very clearly a terrorist strike on Indian and Afghan interests,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his bilateral talks in the morning made it a point to thank Karzai for repelling the attack in Herat. Modi also reiterated India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s revival.

US PULLOUT BY 2016

US President Barack Obama has decided to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan this year and plans to withdraw all its troops from the war-torn country by 2016, a senior official said on Tuesday. An announcement in this regard is expected to be made by Obama on Wednesday.

However, any US troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 is subject to signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement by the new Afghan president, a senior administration official said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to authorise the BSA, and it should be signed by Karzai’s successor to become  effective.

Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are the two candidates in a June runoff election to become the next Afghan president.

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