Norwegian minister blames security lapse for bombing
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store on Tuesday said a "lapse" in security at a luxury hotel in the Afghan capital was partly to blame for the suicide attack that claimed at least eight lives, including a Norwegian journalist.
Store arrived Tuesday evening back in Oslo, forced to cut short his visit to Afghanistan after the suicide attack Monday.
"For me it was evident that there must have been a serious lapse in security at the hotel entrance," Store told reporters on arrival in Oslo, news agency NTB reported.
Store also repeated earlier statements that Norway planned to keep its forces in Afghanistan, and said that he had no information suggesting that the attack was specfically targeted at the Norwegian delegation.
The suicide attack on the Serena Hotel was a "tragic reminder" that Afghanistan remains a dangerous area, Norway's Defence Chief Sverre Diesen said during a visit to neighbouring Sweden.
Norway has around 500 troops in Afghanistan and is part of NATO operations in the country. Store had planned to announce that Oslo aimed to raise its aid to Afghanistan by 50 per cent to 142 million dollars this year.
In Oslo, a debate raged Tuesday that the Foreign Ministry had been too open about publishing details of Store's schedule. The ministry said it would review its policy.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told broadcaster NRK that a meeting was held Tuesday at the cabinet offices with representatives from among others the military and security police to discuss security planning and threat assessments.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Among the casualties was Carsten Thomassen, 38, a Norwegian reporter with Oslo daily Dagbladet who died late Monday of his injuries.
Dagbladet on Tuesday published a black front page with tributes to Thomassen, and among those who have offered their condolences were King Harald and the Norwegian premier.
Thomassen's remains were due to be flown to Norway on Wednesday.
A Norwegian Foreign Ministry employee was also injured in what was described as a suicide attack. ( Dpa )