Much has been said about Friday’s attack on the Indian consulate in Heart and the connection it has with the invitation sent out to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. While a few believe that the two could be connected, officers who have worked in Afghanistan-Pakistan say the issues are completely different. Vicky Nanjappa reports
R K Yadav, former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing tells Rediff.com that the Herat attack was a warning signal to prime minister-elect Narendra Modi.
“By attacking the Indian consulate, the Taliban was only trying to send a message to the new regime not to poke its nose in Afghanistan, especially at a time when the West is withdrawing. It is just that this attack coincided with the invitation sent out to Sharif,” says Yadav.
“It is too simple an assumption to make, and to connect the two is rubbish. Sharif's dilemma is that he has to have the nod of both the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Pakistan army. Only once his they ok it, he can visit India,” says, Amar Bhushan, another former officer with the RAW.
“This inference reminds me of the Kargil war which many said was timed with forme prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Pakistan. The Kargil attack had been in planning for two years. In Heart, the planning must have been at least a week-long. It is not some attack directed by the ISI overnight. Those drawing an inference would need to bear in mind that such an attack on a high secure location cannot be planned in 48 hours,” he says.
“Moreover if the terrorists wanted to convey a message to Sharif against visiting India then the attack would have been at Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore or Karachi. One also needs to bear in mind that contentious issues are not up for this discussion during Sharif’s visit. He would come to India as a guest, and one of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leaders. Even the ISI and the Pakistan army know this and hence would not direct an attack in Afghanistan of all the places. It would have made sense to say that Herat was directed at Afghan President Hamid Karzai to deter him from attending the swearing in,” he says.
Yadav sums it up, “In all likelihood, the Herat attack was aimed at ruining the political atmosphere between India and Afghanistan.”