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India may send more ITBP personnel to Kabul

July 14, 2008 20:15 IST

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With Indian assets in Afghanistan facing increased terror threat, the government on Monday talked about the possibility of augmenting the strength of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel  there as Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon returned from Kabul after assessing the security scenario.

Menon met President Hamid Karzai during his two-day visit to Kabul. He apprised External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee about his discussions with Afghan leaders on how to ensure better protection of the Indian embassy in Kabul and consulates elsewhere in Afghanistan.

He is understood to have conveyed the plans that the Afghan government and Indian authorities would implement to prevent any further attacks on Indian assets.

Menon visited Kabul to review security in the aftermath of the suicide attack at the Indian embassy in which 58 people, including India's Defence Attache, a senior IFS officer and two ITBP jawans, were killed.

Both Afghan and the Indian government have accused Taliban and its mentor Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence of being behind the attack and cautioned about more such strikes.

In view of the increased threat, Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said the government could consider sending more ITBP personnel to Afghanistan to supplement over 400 of them already stationed at various Indian installations and Indian projects in that country.

"If required, we will augment the strength (of ITBP personnel)," Gupta said, adding that the requirement would be reviewed with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Menon, who also met Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta in Kabul, was assured that the Afghan government would do everything possible to protect Indian assets in that country.

The two sides agreed that 'terrorism is a threat to both the countries as well as stability and democracy in the region'.

On the embassy attack, the two sides felt that 'enemies of the relations' between India and Afghanistan are responsible for it.

Despite the attack, Menon said India remains committed to continue the reconstruction work in Afghanistan, in which around 3,000 Indians are engaged in the war-torn country.

Monday's bombing has sparked fresh worry in New Delhi, especially with intelligence inputs suggesting that the Taliban were planning more attacks to target Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad.

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