German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he deplored “in the strongest terms” a powerful suicide car bombing on Monday near the Indian embassy which killed more than 40 people and injured around 140 and pressed Afghan authorities to quickly capture those who planned the attack, news agency AFP reported.
“It is the aim of terrorists to prevent the establishment of orderly and democratic conditions in Afghanistan,” Steinmeier said in a statement. “That is why we are counting on the quick work of the Afghan authorities to find the people behind the attack and bring them to justice.”
The explosion in the center of Kabul ripped through a crowd of people waiting in line for visas at the Indian Embassy. Witnesses said dozens of bodies were strewn on the busy, tree-lined street in front of the building in central Kabul. The death toll was expected to rise. India is one of Afghanistan’s staunchest allies against an increasingly bloody Taliban insurgency.
Terrorist attacks are on the rise in Afghanistan with Afghan and NATO troops battling a resurgent Taliban. On Sunday, a suicide bomber exploded a car bomb near a EU police training mission jeep in northern Afghanistan, injuring seven people including three Germans, officials said.
The attack took place outside the town of Kunduz in the north of the country, an area which has seen an increase in militant strikes but far less of the insurgency-linked violence in southern and eastern Afghanistan. Four people inside the vehicle were lightly wounded, European Union Police Mission (EUPOL) spokesman Andrea Angeli told AFP, describing them as three German police officers and their Afghan interpreter. Provincial governor Mohammad Omar said three children were also hurt.
The EUPOL mission’s aim is to help build the Afghan police force and mentor interior ministry officials as part of international efforts to build the Afghan forces so they can bring security to the fractured country. It consists of about 230 personnel mainly police, law enforcement and justice experts deployed in Kabul and some provinces.
In light of Sunday’s attack on EUPOL, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung spoke of a “heightened risk” in Afghanistan and slammed the “insidious methods of the Taliban.”
The al Qaida-linked Taliban were in government between 1996 and 2001 before they were removed in the US-led invasion.
Germany is the third biggest contributor of foreign troops in Afghanistan. The cabinet agreed last month to bolster the military contingent, stationed in the relatively calm north of the country, by 1,000 to 4,500 troops. The final decision still needs parliamentary approval.