Kabul attack casts shadow on India-Pakistan talks


New Delhi/Islamabad : The suicide attack on the Indian mission in Kabul is threatening to cast a shadow on the India-Pakistan dialogue as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team has pulled out of talks with its Pakistani counterpart to discuss terrorism and drug trafficking.

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CBI Director Vijay Shankar was scheduled to lead a delegation for talks with Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) towards the end of this month.

Shankar’s visit has, however, been cancelled in the wake of the July 7 attack on the Indian mission in Kabul that killed an Indian diplomat and a military attaché of brigadier rank.

“The CBI team is not going to Pakistan,” an official source, who did not wish to be named, said.

The visit has been cancelled after National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said Saturday that New Delhi had “pretty good evidence” of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence’s suspected involvement in the car bomb attack on the Indian mission.

He also described ISI as “evil” and said “it must be destroyed”.

Without naming Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said in Kabul Sunday that the attack was the work of “our common enemies, of the enemies of our common friendship, and of the enemies of peace in Afghanistan and our region”.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in the Kabul attack.

The issue of the alleged complicity of the Pakistani agency in the suicide attack will figure prominently in discussions between the foreign secretary and his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir. Bashir will come to Delhi July 21-22 to launch the fifth round of composite dialogue between the two countries.

Prior to that, India and Pakistan will hold joint secretary-level talks on confidence-building measures in Islamabad July 18.

During Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to India last month the two sides had vowed to resolve the common threat of terrorism and agreed to intensify their economic relations.

Pakistan is, however, hopeful India will launch the fifth round of their composite dialogue as scheduled.

“We have received some negative signals from New Delhi but hope that the fifth round will start as planned,” a senior Pakistani official told IANS in Islamabad.