Six Indian nationals kidnapped in Afghanistan, MEA assures action; top developments

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New Delhi | Updated: May 7, 2018 1:31:35 PM

India's Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement on Sunday. “We are aware of the abduction of Indian nationals from Baghlan province in Afghanistan. We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained,”

Representational photo (PTI)

Abduction by terrorist organisations in Afghanistan is common and this time six Indians and one Afghan national have been abducted in Baghlan province of Afghanistan. News agency PTI reported that while no group has claimed the responsibility, according to local reports the role of Taliban is being suspected. All abductees were working with KEC International, an Indian power company, which is one of the largest Indian companies operating in Afghanistan and supplies electricity across the country. According to local media reports, the KEC employees were abducted by armed men in Bagh-e-Shamal village of the provincial capital Pul-e-Khomri.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement on Sunday. “We are aware of the abduction of Indian nationals from Baghlan province in Afghanistan. We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained,” the statement said.

On Sunday, Afghanistan Foreign Minister spoke to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and briefed her about the efforts being taken to rescue Indian workers. This is the third case of abduction of Indian citizens in Afghanistan in the last four years, The Indian Express reported on Monday.

A local news channel quoted Baghlan Governor Abdulhai Nemati as saying that a Taliban group was behind the abduction. He also said authorities had spoken to the Taliban group, via local sources, and had been told that these employees had been mistaken for government staff. Nemati told TOLO news that the Taliban group had moved the KEC employees to Dand-e-Shahabuddin area of Pul-e-Khomri city. He said they were trying to secure their release through tribe elders and mediation.

Chairman of RPG Enterprises, Harsh Goenka, tweeted to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, requesting her help for the release of abducted Indians. RPG Enterprises is the parent company of KEC.

As reported by The Indian Express, in 2013 KEC signed a contract with Afghanistan for construction of 220 KV D/C transmission line from the existing 220 KV substation at Chimtala to the newly proposed 220 KV substation at south-west Kabul.

Kidnapping of Indians happened on the day when a powerful blast at a voter registration centre killed and wounded at least 30 people in Afghanistan.

The abduction and killings of foreign nationals are rampant in the country. The Indian Express reports that between 2003 and 2008, three Indians were kidnapped and released. However, two Indians were killed after they were abducted. In 2014, Alexis Prem Kumar, a Roman Catholic priest from India, was abducted. He was released in 2015. Kasula Suryanarayana and Maniappan Raman Kutty were not so lucky, while Kasula was found dead after he was abducted in 2005 and Raman Kutty was also killed after his abduction in 2006. Attacks on nationals of other countries have also made headlines in the war-torn nation.

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