Security at Indian missions in Afghanistan enhanced

Security measures at Indian missions in Afghanistan have been enhanced with both ITBP and Afghan security forces strenthening the defence mechanisms in the wake of the recent attack on the Consulate in Herat.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 03, 2014, 22:51 PM IST

New Delhi: Security measures at Indian missions in Afghanistan have been enhanced with both ITBP and Afghan security forces strenthening the defence mechanisms in the wake of the recent attack on the Consulate in Herat.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force chief Subhas Goswami, who had recently visited that country for an on-the-spot assessment, said the Indian Embassy in Kabul and four Consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-e-Sharif have been brought under heightened security measures right after the attack on May 23.

"We have already strengthened our security and defences at all the missions we are guarding in Afghanistan including at Herat. Some more measures will be deployed soon.
"The Afghan police has already created more pickets and deployed round-the-clock security by mobile police squads outside the Herat consulate," Goswami, who returned from Afghanistan last week, told PTI.

In a related development, discussions were underway for shifting the location of the Consulate in Herat as the present location was not safe.

While the ITBP chief did not comment on it, sources in the security establishment said the possibility of moving the Consulate General of India (CGI) at Herat to a new and safer location was also being mulled and it is the prerogative of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The CGI is currently located in a built-up residential area in Herat.

The ITBP Director General said he would "not want to elaborate on security details" but said "advance warning and security measures" have been put in place to combat any such threat in future.

"I have already briefed the Home Ministry in this regard and a report has been sent. I met Home Minister Mr Rajnath Singh and he personally congratulated the men for their gallant action at Herat," he said.
Goswami added five troops posted at the mission, who valiantly retaliated the attack last month, will be recommended for a gallantry medal.

Goswami had visited the Herat consulate and met his officers said the attack was planned very effectively but his men performed a "clinically precise" operation to thwart the day-break attack.

"The entire operation of killing the lone attacker who was trying to sneak into the consulate was accomplished in 44 seconds. The CCTV camera installed inside the mission has captured the entire drama and that`s how we calculated the entire time from when he tried to enter inside from the rear side and was killed by our men," he said.

Goswami praised the role of Afghan security forces in aiding Indian security activities and said they were getting good help from them in terms of sharing of intelligence reports and obtaining local logistical help.

In a pre-dawn assault on May 23, four gunmen had opened fire on the consulate in Herat which houses two buildings in the western Afghan city bordering Iran.

All the four attackers were killed in the heavy exchange of fire with one being killed by ITBP personnel while three others were neutralised by Afghan security forces.

The ITBP, a paramilitary force under the Union Home Ministry, has recently bolstered its security at all Indian installations in Afghanistan by sending a squad of 80 trained commandos to the country.

A squad of 23 personnel was manning the Herat consulate when it was attacked.