India blames Pakistan for Kabul embassy attack

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s national security adviser has said Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service was behind a suicide car-bomb attack on the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul last week that killed 41 people.

India's national security adviser M. K. Narayanan seen in Tehran in this July 1, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

“We have no doubt that the ISI is behind this,” M.K. Narayanan told NDTV late on Saturday, referring to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

He told another news channel India had a “fair amount” of evidence linking the ISI to Monday’s car bomb. Among the dead were an Indian defence attache and a diplomat.

An Afghan spokesman said after the attack that it bore the “hallmarks of a particular intelligence agency”.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in the embassy attack.

“We have already stated that in no way were Pakistan’s security agencies or anyone from Pakistan involved in any incident in Afghanistan,” said Information Minister Sherry Rehman.

Rehman said it was unfortunate the accusations were being made when Pakistan was seeking to move forward with a peace process with India.

Narayanan told NDTV he hoped the peace talks, which the nuclear-armed rivals resumed in 2004, would continue.

“We are in the favour of the peace process, but the ISI is not in any way part of it. The ISI is playing evil. The ISI needs to be destroyed,” he said, according to a transcript of the interview on the NDTV Web site.

India has close ties with Afghanistan, where it has pledged about $750 million towards reconstruction of the war-ravaged country. Some political analysts think Pakistan is increasingly wary of losing influence in Afghanistan to India.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence in 1947, and they nearly went to war a fourth time in 2002.

Additional Augustine Anthony in Islamabad