'Suicide attack on Indians highlights bloody Indo-Pak wrestle for influence in Afghanistan'

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Kabul, Feb. 27 (ANI): A wave of suicide attacks in Kabul, which left 18 people dead - half of them Indians, once again highlighted the bloody wrestle between India and Pakistan for influence in Afghanistan.

According to Indian officials, at least nine victims killed in the fourth major attack in Kabul since October were Indian nationals, many of whom worked for the Indira Ghandi children's hospital in the city.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks, which came a week after Pakistani officials detained 15 senior and mid-level members of the Quetta Shura.

While one attack on a guesthouse holding mostly foreigners form the US and the UK seems to be carried out by a small team of gunmen and a suicide bomber, the other attack on the guest house with the Indians appeared to have been a car bomb.

It was the third attack on Indian interests in Kabul since 2008, and puts a spotlight on India and Pakistan's jockeying for influence in Afghanistan that has coloured politics and war since long before US troops arrived in 2001, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

After a 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul left more than 50 people dead, India alleged it had intercepted communications that showed that Pakistan's ISI was involved in the bombing, which was claimed by Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani, the paper adds.

The ISI has long used Sunni Islamist and ethnic-Pashtun Taliban to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan.

That was why, India and the US believe, Pakistan had not previously taken stronger action against the Afghan Taliban inside its borders, it says.

India again blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and halted peace talks in their aftermath.

While those talks resumed for the first time on Thursday, what impact the terror attack in Afghanistan would have on it is still uncertain, the paper says. (ANI)

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