Kabul: The Taliban have claimed responsibility for Thursday`s suicide car bomb in the Afghan capital, saying their target was the Indian embassy.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement posted on the group`s Web site that the attacker was an Afghan man who blew up his a sporty utility vehicle laden with explosives just outside the embassy.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said the suicide attack in the Afghan capital Kabul was directed at the Indian embassy.
A suicide bomber today blew up his car outside the compound of the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital killing at least 17 people and leaving 83 wounded, including three ITBP jawans, in a fiery blast that had all the hallmarks of Taliban.
"I believe that the suicide bomb was directed against the embassy because the suicide bomber came up to the outside perimeter wall of the embassy in a car loaded with explosives, obviously with the aim of targeting the embassy," Rao had said.
"All the personnel inside the embassy building at that time are safe. Three of our personnel from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), who were guarding the perimeter wall of the embassy have been slightly injured because of shrapnel from the bomb blast. But there has been no loss of life," she added.
"I have spoken to India`s Ambassador to Afghanistan Jayant Prasad and he has informed me that all the members of our embassy (officers and staff and personnel) are safe. The intensity of the blast was more or less similar to the one that occurred outside our embassy in Kabul in July 2008," Rao said.
The powerful blast, which occurred at 0827 local time (0927 IST), blew up the mission watch tower, destroyed vehicles and left a trail of death and destruction with Indian Ambassador Jayant Prasad also insisting, "Indian embassy was the target."
The Indian Ambassador said that the suicide bomber failed to breach the embassy`s security perimeter and, "No mission staff or Indian had been killed in the attack." The blast had the same intensity as the explosion that rocked the premises on July 7 last year, he added.
This was the second attack on the Indian mission here as last year a suicide car bomber had rammed the front wall of the Indian embassy, killing 60 people in the strike blamed on Taliban militants linked to Pakistan`s intelligence service ISI.