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Abducted Indian Engineers Were Mistaken for Afghan Govt Employees, Says Governor

Local media quoted Baghlan governor Abdulhai Nemati as saying that efforts were on to secure the release of the Indians through “tribe elders and mediation”.

Updated:May 7, 2018, 12:26 PM IST
New Delhi: Seven Indian engineers who were abducted in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province by Taliban gunmen were mistaken to be Afghan government employees, provincial governor Abdulhai Nemati has said.

Local media quoted Nemati as saying that efforts were on to secure the release of the Indians, all employees of the RPG group, through “tribe elders and mediation”.

The External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi that it is in touch with authorities in Afghanistan and is ascertaining the details of the incident.

Afghan news channel TOLOnews reported that the Taliban militants abducted six Indians, working for Maharashtra-based company KEC, and their Afghan driver early this morning in Bagh-e-Shamal area of the provincial capital Pul-e-Khomri, while the Associated Press said seven Indian electrical engineers were kidnapped.

The company employees were abducted while they were travelling to the area where KEC has a contract to operate an electricity sub-station, the Afghan news channel reported citing officials.

Baghlan Governor Abdulhai Nemati said the Taliban group took the engineers hostage and moved them to the Dand-e-Shahabuddin area of Pul-e-Khomri city, according to the report.

It quoted Nemati as saying that Afghan authorities spoke with the Taliban via local people and the terror group said it had abducted them, believing they were government employees.

No group has, however, claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Nemati said they are trying to get the abductees released through tribe elders and mediation.

In response to queries, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said, "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."

Harsh Goenka, the chairman of RPG Enterprises, the parent company of KEC, said he has requested External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to help rescue its employees.

"Request @SushmaSwaraj and Ministry of External Affairs to help rescue 7 of our managers from the kidnapping in Afghanistan.#KEC," Goenka tweeted.

KEC, a global infrastructure engineering, procurement and construction major, is operating in Afghanistan, besides several other Indian companies.

(With PTI inputs)

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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