M A I N   N E W S

Taliban behead Indian engineer before deadline
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 30
The black visage of the Taliban was waved to India again today as the terrorist outfit jumped their own deadline and killed their captive K. Suryanarayan, the second Indian worker to be killed in Afghanistan in less than six months.

The brutal killing of the kidnapped Indian has thrown up a new foreign policy and security challenge for New Delhi and engaged the attention of the UPA government at the highest level.

The telecom engineer was killed more than eight hours before the captors’ deadline was to expire at 6 pm today.

Suryanarayan’s decapitated body and severed head were found in Hassan Kariez district of Zabul province, the same area from where he was kidnapped at 6 pm yesterday.

Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who yesterday announced a 24-hour deadline for the release of Suryanarayan, said militants shot Suryanarayan after he tried to fight and escape from his captors.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran pointed out that the fact that Suryanarayan had been killed even before the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) team arrived in Kabul this morning indicated that it was a premeditated killing.

Mr Saran said the Taliban were a terror group and should be recognised as such by the international community, including Pakistan.

Indian Ambassador to Kabul Rakesh Sood sent a team to Zabul in the morning to determine the veracity of information that a decapitated body was lying in the area.

The news was picked up by television channels, forcing the MEA to issue a statement at 11 am.

The terse MEA statement said: “We are aware that the body of a person has been found in Afghanistan, between Qalat and Ghazni. A team has been sent to the location to verify the identity of the body. We must await an official confirmation from Afghanistan authorities before coming to any conclusion.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned Suryanarayan’s killing and called on the nation to remain unified in the face of terrorism, his Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru said.

Suryanarayan (41) had been employed in Afghanistan since January by a Bahrain-based company, Al-Moayed.

The company has been contracted by an Afghan mobile phone company, Roshan, to expand its mobile phone network across volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan.

Four Macedonians of Albanian descent were kidnapped and killed in the same area last month, purportedly by Taliban militants.

Suryanarayan’s kidnapping is fifth incident since December, 2003, aimed at destabilising India’s influence in the highly-strategic Afghanistan.

The first incident was of two Indian workers, P. Murali and G. Vardharai, who were kidnapped on December 9, 2003 and released by their captors, believed to be either Taliban or local armed gangs, 15 days later.

The two Indians were employed on the US-funded $270 million Kandahar-Kabul road project.

The second incident was of an Indian telecommunications engineer, Sanjiv, working for the Afghan Wireless Company, who was shot dead on November 8, 2003.

The third incident was the abduction of Maniyappan Raman Kutty of the BRO, working on the Zaranj-Delaram road project in Afghanistan, along with three Afghan nationals on November 19, 2005.

Also, there was a loss of consignment of explosives meant for use by the BRO for its project in Afghanistan, while it was being shipped from Mumbai between December 22 and 23, 2005.

Six containers carrying explosives for the BRO disappeared from the deck of the ship “MV EUGENIA”.

The ship was brought into Mumbai Anchorage on December 23, 2005. While four containers were extricated, two could not be traced.


It is an inhumane act of killing. The nation must unite in the fight against terrorism.

— Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh

This is the tragic and untimely death of an innocent Indian citizen who was making a contribution to the reconstruction of the country…. The Government of India is appalled at this inhumane act of terror by the Taliban and their sponsors.

— Foreign Secretary
Shyam Saran

The Prime Minister has condemned the killing of an innocent Indian working for reconstruction in Afghanistan. The PM has spoken to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and asked him to convey his grief to Suryanarayan’s family. The government has also assured all help to the family.

— PM’s Media Adviser
Dr Sanjaya Baru


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