Working Out Ways to Ensure Release, Says India After Seven Engineers Are Abducted in Afghanistan
The Indian engineers were working at a power plant in the Baghlan province in north Afghanistan.
India is in touch with Afghanistan authorities after seven Indian engineers working in the country were abducted on May 6, a spokesman for Indian External Affairs Ministry said, BBC reported. The Indian engineers were working at a power plant in the Baghlan province in north Afghanistan, according to local media reports.
“We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained,” BBC quoted the Indian foreign ministry spokesman as saying. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the abduction and no ransom has been sought, reports added.
The Indian engineers, who have not been identified, worked for KEC International, whose parent company is RPG Enterprises headquartered in Mumbai. They, along with their Afghan driver, were grabbed by unknown gunmen from a vehicle on the fringes of the Baghlan provincial capital, Pul-e Khumri, on May 6, according to BBC. The incident took place while the group of electrical engineers was travelling to a government-run power station in a mini bus, where KEC has a contract to operate an electricity sub-station, Zabihullah Shuja, spokesman for Baghlan police, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“We are working out ways to ensure the release of our engineers,” an Indian official said, the news agency reported.
The engineers were working for Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), which operates stations generating power, Indian officials in Kabul said.
The Taliban is thought to have abducted the Indians and taken them to Pul-e Khumri, which is 230 km off Kabul, according to Baghlan Governor Abdulhai Nemati, IANS reported. Nemati added that when the Taliban was contacted, the terrorist group said that it kidnapped the seven people on the assumption that they were employees of the government of Afghanistan.
Nemati said that they are attempting to get the engineers freed through mediation as well as through tribe elders, , PTI reported.
Harsh Goenka, the chairman of RPG Enterprises took to the social media to urge the Indian government to rescue the engineers.
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) May 6, 2018
More than 150 Indian engineers and technical experts are presently working on large infrastructure projects throughout Afghanistan, the BBC reported, citing a senior Indian embassy official. The group of Indian engineers had overlooked warnings to be accompanied by a police escort to pass through an area that is mainly controlled by the Taliban, the report quoted Mohammad Safdar Mohseni, the Provincial Council chairman, as saying.
Abductions have been a serious issue in Afghanistan, with huge areas being wrecked by gangs or militant groups. In 2016, an Indian aid worker, Judith D’Souza, was abducted in Kabul and was released 40 days later.