Nepal seeks answers from Canada on Kabul suicide bombing attack

Kathmandu, June 25

Nepal has sought answers from Canada on how and under what circumstance Nepali security guards employed by its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, were killed in a terrorist attack on June 20.

The Nepali side has also requested Canadian authorities to ensure the safety and security of other Nepalis still working with Canadian diplomatic facilities in war-torn Afghanistan.

Thirteen Nepali migrant workers were killed and six were seriously wounded when they became a bomber’s target while being ferried to the embassy in an unprotected minibus.

Nepal’s Ambassador to Canada Kali Prasad Pokhrel yesterday met with Canadian High Commissioner to India Nadir Patel and other foreign ministry officials in Ottawa and sought to know their take on the incident and apparent security breaches, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bharat Raj Paudyal.

Patel, who is also Canada’s non-residential ambassador to Nepal, was currently in Ottawa.

During his conversation with Patel, Ambassador Pokhrel expressed concern about visible security lapses while ferrying Nepali guards from their camps to the embassy in a minibus without any security escort. The Nepali side has asked Canadian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and share the findings.

Following the attack, Nepali lawmakers and the public have raised questions why westerners in Afghanistan are heavily protected but those who are hired to guard them are not.

It’s understood that Nepal’s envoy also reminded the Canadian government to look into the situation of bereaved families and provide financial support to the dependants of the deceased and injured ones on humanitarian ground.

“It’s a moral responsibility of the Canadian government to provide support for dependants of the victims,” said a foreign ministry official.

A total of 147 Nepali security guards used to work at the Canadian mission in Kabul before the attack. They were hired by a British security consultancy firm, Sabre International.

At least 24 of them returned home in the same flight which airlifted the mortal remains of the deceased of the Kabul attack on Thursday.

One of the returnees, Satya Narayan Shrestha of Lamjung told The Himalayan Times that other Nepalis working in the Kabul-based Canadian mission also wanted to return home as soon as possible because of security risks.

He claimed that the Taliban — which has claimed responsibility for the attack — had asked money from Sabre International and warned they would ‘eliminate’ the Nepali guards in case they failed to get it. “They targeted us because the company refused to give money and took their warnings very lightly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Charge d’Affaires of Nepal to Pakistan Tirtha Raj Aryal, who concurrently looks after Afghanistan as well, today met diplomats of the Canadian Embassy in Kabul and expressed concern regarding the attack.