India's Def. Attache, Counsellor killed in terror attack in Kabul

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (UNI) India's Defence Attache Brig R D Mehta and Counsellor V V Rao were among the five personnel of the Indian Mission staff killed in Kabul when suspected Taliban terrorists struck the embassy today.

Two Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel, Roop Singh and Ajai Pathania, and an Afghan national working with the embassy, Niyamatullah, were also killed in the attack, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

A high-level team led by Mr Nalin Surie. a senior official of the External Affairs Ministry, is being rushed to Kabul, the Minister told a hurriedly-called press conference.

Reuters reported from Kabul that a suicide car bomber rammed into two diplomatic vehicles entering the Indian Embassy, killing 41 people and wounding 141.

The report, quoting Health Ministry spokesman Abdullah Fahim, said 28 people were killed and 141 wounded, but a senior police official later revised this to 41 deaths.

Earlier, immediately after the incident, the External Affairs Minister convened an emergency meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony and senior officials of the External Affairs and Defence Ministries to discuss the matter arising out of the situation.

''It is with very great regret and a heavy heart that I have to announce that in the terrorist attack on our Mission in Kabul this morning, we have lost five of our personnel. Brig. RD Mehta, Defence Attache, V V Rao, Counsellor and Ajai Pathaniya and Roop Singh, both from the ITBP security contingent, were killed in the attack. One of our Afghan staff members Niamatullah was also killed in the attack...A special team under the leadership of Secretary (West) Nalin Suri will be flying to Kabul immediately to attend to this emergency situation concerning our Mission,'' the External Affairs Minister said.

This is the fourth major terrorist attack in Afghanistan this year. Six people were killed in an attack on a hotel in January while another six were killed in a car-bomb attack in March.

In April, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai escaped an assassination attempt when terrorists attacked a parade being attended by him.

The External Affairs Minister ...Eds here pls pick up from para one of DI25 External--Afghanistan attack-Lead India two last New Delhi.


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