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Afghan bomb stirs up regional strife

KABUL, Afghanistan — A car bomb that killed 41 people outside the Indian Embassy on Monday stoked regional tensions and threatened to erode already diminishing confidence in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry indirectly blamed Pakistan for the suicide attack, the deadliest in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban movement in 2001. Nearly 150 people were injured in the bombing, an audacious strike in what previously had been considered a well-secured area of the Afghan capital.

Although Pakistan swiftly condemned the attack, it was likely to generate more acrimony between the two neighbors, both considered key U.S. allies in the fight against Islamic militants. Afghan officials accused Pakistan's main intelligence service this spring of having a hand in an assassination attempt against Karzai in April. Last month, the Afghan leader threatened to send troops into Pakistan if authorities there could not stem the movement of insurgents across the border into his country.

Long-standing tensions between India and Pakistan have become entangled in the Afghan conflict, but it was not immediately clear who carried out the bombing or why the Indian Embassy was targeted. Suspicion fell on the Taliban, but news agencies cited a Taliban spokesman as denying any role.

Pakistan's support in the 1990s of the Taliban movement was part of a push by its shadowy intelligence agencies to create a counterweight to Indian influence. India, in turn, lent its support to opposition fighters who eventually coalesced into the American-allied Northern Alliance.

Afghan bomb stirs up regional strife 07/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 3:17pm]
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