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Cablegate: Giroa Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack On Kabul

VZCZCXRO4373
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #0700/01 0571441
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261441Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5891
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 000700

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: FBI PREL PTER AF
SUBJECT: GIROA STRONGLY CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK ON KABUL
- EXTENDS CONDOLENCES TO INDIA

1. The Afghan government swung into action to publicly and
strongly condemn Taliban suicide and car bomb attacks in
central Kabul the morning of February 26 that killed at least
13 people and wounded approximately thirty-two.
Demonstrating an unprecedented degree of intergovernmental
cooperation, spokespersons from the Ministry of Interior
(MOI), the Office of the President, and the Government Media
and Information Center (GMIC) began coordinating within an
hour of the 6:30 a.m. attack. The MOI spokesman provided
numerous interviews detailing events even as the attacks were
ongoing.

2. The Palace issued a strong statement in Pashto condemning
attacks on this special Islamic holiday, calling the
attackers "enemies of Islam and the Afghan people" and
consigning them to hell. Minister of Hajj and Religious
Affairs Mohammad Yousuf Niazi instructed mullahs to condemn
the attack in their Friday prayers. Radio Television
Afghanistan (RTA) filmed sermons of condemnation at four main
Kabul mosques during two o'clock prayers for broadcasting on
the evening news. The deputy head of the Ulema Council,
Mullah Manawi, will condemn the attacks in a special program
being filmed at 5:00 by RTA.

3. The Afghan security forces brought the situation under
control within two hours. Although it was first thought the
Safi Landmark hotel was the the target of the attacks, media
reports indicate the Taliban spokesman who claimed
responsibility indicated that "foreign" guest houses in the
area were the targets. Four Indian nationals were killed.

4. An informal translation of the Palace Statement issued in
Pashto at 1:30 p.m. reads:

Begin Statement: Presidential Palace: H.E. Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan condemned in
the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Kabul's Shar e
Nau area that killed and injured many civilians.

Terrorists targeted this morning two hotels around Ansari
square in Kabul where mostly Indian nationals were housed.
At least thirteen people including four Indians and an
Italian national were killed and many more were injured.

President Karzai is saddened by the un-Islamic and inhuman
act saying, "The attack on a Muslim holiday of the Prophet
Mohammad's (PBUH) birth anniversary clearly shows that the
perpetrators are indeed the enemies of Islam and the people
of Afghanistan and will be burning in hell fires."

The President instructed the public health ministry to put to
use all possible means and resources for a speedy recovery of
the injured.

The President also ordered all security agencies to make
every possible effort to capture the organizers and
perpetrators of the terrorist act and report back.

President Hamid Karzai extends deep sympathies and
condolences to the people and government of India and to the
families of the victims and prays for a quick recovery of the
injured. End Statement

5. The USG issued the following statement:

Begin Statement: The United States strongly condemns the
brutal attack this morning in central Kabul, which has killed
and injured many innocent Afghans and citizens of other
nations. We condemn this inhumane act by the Taliban, which
was carried out on a holiday focused on family and prayer.

We commend the Afghan National Security Forces for bringing
the situation under control quickly. Our thoughts and
condolences are with those affected by this act of terror.
The United States remains firmly committed to working
side-by-side with the Afghan Government and people, as well
as our international partners, to deliver security and a
better future to Afghanistan. End Statement

6. (SBU) Comment: Compared to its past inability to respond
effectively to weekend events, the Afghan government's public
response has been robust, well-coordinated, and on target.
It leveraged the fact that the attack took place on a special
Islamic holiday to give lie to the Taliban's claim to be the
representatives of Islam. Effective collaboration between
newly installed Presidential Palace Spokesman Waheed Omer and
staff from the MOI, GMIC, the Hajj and Religious Affairs
Ministry, and RTA ensured that the tragic events of the day
have been condemned officially and unequivocally for what
they are - terrorism. Also noteworthy in the palace

KABUL 00000700 002 OF 002


statement is the singling out of Indian victims, a clear
swipe at Pakistan, who many speculate may have been behind
the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul in 2009. End
Comment.
RICCIARDONE

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