Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has asked terrorist groups to target Indians working in Afghanistan, especially Indian officials working with international agencies, an advisory issued by the Indian embassy in Afghanistan said.
The advisory that was shared on Thursday, according to officials aware of the development, is based on an intelligence generated by another country which was shared with the Indian embassy in Afghanistan.
“The ISI has asked certain terrorists groups to target Indian nationals in Afghanistan and try to take them hostage. It has also instructed them to identify the location of Indian citizens and their footwork (places frequently visited by them). We anticipate that ISI-backed terror groups will try to carry out a terrorist strike soon,” a Kabul-based official familiar with the development said.
Officials said that the security in and around the Indian embassy in Kabul and the consulates in other regions of Afghanistan has been increased substantially in recent times. The ISIS, therefore, is now looking at targeting individuals or a group of Indian citizens.
“It is much easier to kidnap an individual rather than storming a well fortified office compound. Also, the repercussions of kidnapping an Indian national, especially someone working in an international agency, will be far reaching and it will also affect the relations between Afghanistan and India adversely,” the official said.
Despite multiple terror attacks against Indian establishment in Afghanistan in recent years, no Indian citizen has been taken hostage so far. This is primarily due to the strict security procedure that the Indian nationals working in Afghanistan follow, which includes staying most of the time either in the office compound or in their residential compounds which are heavily guarded.
The advisory comes in the backdrop of last week’s meeting of delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States that took place in Islamabad. The meeting discussed efforts to end the 15-year war between the US backed Afghan government and the country’s former Taliban rulers. On 3 January, an intense gun-battle between security forces and the attackers took place outside the Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif after assailants attempted to storm the mission building.