I thought at first it was a window slamming shut in the wind. Alas not. Sometimes I hear a door slam and wonder for a second if it is a bomb. Sometimes, I hear a bang and know it was not a door slamming.
It was a suicide car bomb driven into the Indian embassy in Kabul as two diplomatic cars were entering. At least 30 people killed or wounded. 41 people killed and 140 wounded according to the latest reports.
The embassy is on a busy road in the centre of the city. There’s always a crowd of people outside queuing up to get visas.
Of all the countries represented in Kabul, India seems like a strange one to target. They fund some large infrastructure projects but their biggest influence is probably through television. Maybe less strange if there is a Pakistani element behind the attack. Or it was just opportunistic, on a relatively soft target.
Then a US military convoy shoot at some random people as they rushed through the city shortly afterwards, killing two. If a vehicle ever accidentally gets too close to a convoy, that’s how they tend to react.
Our drivers don’t always get this, and respond to the angry gestures of soldiers swivelling round and pointing a machine gun at our car by grinning and waving back as they contentedly drive closer.
People don’t always understand the (understandable) paranoia, or security measures, of military convoys, and certainly don’t understand whatever it is the foreign soldier is shouting at them. But the soldiers don’t always seem to understand that
Needless to add, all this, on top of the alleged (I write alleged, but for most people here it is a fact) bombing of a wedding party in the east yesterday by US forces, this will further endear both the US and ISAF, and the Taliban, to the local population. How’s that for some insightful analysis.
Update: For some proper analysis, and the regional Afghanistan/Pakistan/India dynamics, have a look at Barnett Rubin’s post here.