Amsterdam, [Netherlands] March 28 (ANI): Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is the mastermind of the dreaded terror attack on a Kabul Gurudwara on Thursday, that left 25 Sikhs dead, a European think tank has hinted.
"The choice of the target for the attack, a tiny minority Afghan group of Indian origin with no real stakes within Afghanistan, drew focus on neighboring Pakistan's role, especially given that it has been behind all other major attacks over the years against Indian interests in the country," said EFSAS.
"Pakistan has made no bones about its keenness to force India out of Afghanistan," said the Amsterdam- based thinktank.
Amrullah Saleh, a former head of the Afghan intelligence agency the National Directorate of Security, was quoted in a recent report of the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies as saying that, "the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan is not genuine. It is an intelligence game played by some of our neighbors". Pakistan, the report says, supports the ISKP as part of a "hedging strategy".
Another clue that raised the specter of Pakistani involvement was the reported release of a second statement by ISIS after the Gurdwara attack in which it said that the killings in Kabul were revenge for Indian actions in Kashmir.
EFSAS said, "News portals such as the Afghanistan Sun quoted highly placed Afghan sources as asserting that Pakistan's premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had ordered the attack on the hapless worshippers in the Gurdwara".
Hussain Ehsani, a Kabul-based researcher on fundamentalist groups like ISKP, believes that the attack was carried out by the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, both of which are supported by the ISI.
On why, then, had the ISIS claimed responsibility, Ehsani explained that "A number of attacks have been executed in Kabul recently, with responsibility being claimed by the ISIS. But the ISKP does not have tactical and strategic capabilities for executing such complex attacks. The Haqqani group realized the importance of the ISKP brand and put itself behind the scenes".
"In essence, what Saleh, Ehsani and several other experts believe is that the ISKP serves as a red herring for the Haqqani network. Therefore, despite the rather prompt and loud confessions of guilt by the ISIS, it appears almost certain that the ISI played a clear role in orchestrating the attack", said EFSAS.
It added, "What is absolute without a doubt, however, is that only inhumanly cruel, nauseatingly sick and exceedingly perverted minds could have ordered an attack as dastardly as that on the defenseless innocent worshippers at the Gurdwara".
The Sikh community in Afghanistan that once constituted a vibrant, well-integrated and economically active part of Afghan society has, since the Taliban grabbed power in the 1990s, been persecuted, attacked, killed, and driven away from the country that they had called home for generations.
Their depletion has been so rapid that of the close to a quarter of a million that called Afghanistan home in 1992, a minuscule 1000-odd still remain in the country, barely eking out a livelihood in extremely trying and violent circumstances.
"Their plight is heart-rending", said the think-tank. (ANI)