Afghan officials insinuated on Sunday that Pakistan’s intelligence agency was responsible for the bombing of a restaurant in Kabul that killed 21 people over the weekend. National Security Adviser Rangin Spanta told The Wall Street Journal the attack was not the work of the Taliban because it was “too sophisticated” but bore the mark of a “regional spy or intelligence service.”
Even if Taliban insurgents were involved it’s highly unlikely they acted alone because the Taliban, according to Spanta, are not an independent power but a puppet of the “deep state of Pakistan.”
An official statement from the Afghan government indicated that an “intelligence organization from abroad” was behind the incident, prompting Pakistan foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam to say she couldn't respond to accusations when “Pakistan isn't specifically named.”
Meanwhile, also on Sunday, the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul issued a statement which strongly condemned the attack and “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” according to Pajhwok Afghan News.
Islamabad's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency is often accused of helping Afghan militants to plan and execute spectacular attacks to ensure influence in a post-NATO world. In fact, U.S. officials have publicly described the Haqqani Network, a Taliban affiliate, as a “veritable arm” of the ISI. And according to WikiLeaks documents the CIA has gone so far as to classify Pakistan’s spy agency as a terrorist organization.
Among the victims of Friday’s attack, which was the deadliest against foreign civilians in Kabul since the war began in 2001, were three Americans, an IMF official, a UN official and a UNICEF employee from Pakistan.
At 7:30 pm Friday night an assailant detonated his suicide vest at the outer gate of the Taverna du Liban right before two other attackers stormed the premises and gunned down all patrons and staff.
Afghan investigators vowed to find out how these insurgents were able to penetrate one of the most secure areas of Kabul. According to Aljazeera, three police chiefs responsible for the Wazir Akbar Khan district were suspended over the security breach.
Fear of further destabilization has been on the rise ahead of a presidential contest set for April which many believe will be targeted by the Taliban. In addition, Washington has threatened to pull out all American forces, in what is being referred to as Obama’s “zero option,” if Karzai doesn’t agree to terms of a long-term bilateral security agreement, which includes legal immunity for U.S. personnel.
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