Afghan Vice-President Amrullah Saleh

NEW DELHI: Pakistani hand and involvement of its spy agency ISI cannot be ruled out in attack on Afghan Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, one of the fiercest critics of cross-border terror and Islamabad’s interference in his country’s politics.

This is the not first attack on Saleh, a former intelligence chief as he has survived several assassination attempts, including one on his office last year that killed 20 people.

Incidentally the attack comes after Saleh’s comments on the Durand Line. “No Afghan politician of national stature can overlook the issue of Durand Line. It will condemn him or her in life & after life. It is an issue which needs discussions & resolution. Expecting us to gift it for free is un-realistic. Peshawar used to be the winter capital of Afg,” he had tweeted on September 7.

India on Wednesday “strongly condemned the cowardly terrorist attack” on Afghan Vice-president (VP) Amrullah Saleh who survived the terror attack, saying “India stands with Afghanistan in the fight to eradicate terror infrastructure and sponsors for enduring peace in Afghanistan”.

The word “sponsors” used is being viewed as a veiled reference to Pakistan which has historically backed various terror groups in Afghanistan.

The peace talks between Taliban and the Afghan government are being misused by the Pak-backed terrorists including the Haqqani network to attack figures like Saleh, experts on Af-Pak affairs told ET. The recent attack on Saleh was planned and orchestrated from Pakistan by Pak Army-ISI and there are clear footprints, experts alleged. The talks with Taliban are being used as a facade by Pakistan.

According to reports, a roadside bomb in Kabul targeted Saleh on Wednesday morning but while he escaped the attack, 10 others were killed and at least 15 were wounded. The Taliban has reportedly denied responsibility.

According to these reports, in a video posted on Facebook soon after the explosion, Saleh, with bandages on his left hand, said he had been travelling to his office when his convoy was attacked. Saleh was quoted as saying, “I am fine but some of my guards have been wounded. My son, who was in the car with me, and I are both fine. I have some burns on my face and hand. The blast was strong.”