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Indian kidnapped in Afghanistan

Kandahar, November 20
Taliban insurgents have kidnapped an Indian in southern Afghanistan, a spokesman for the militant group said today.

A report quoting the Nimroz provincial Governor Ghulam Dasthaqir had said that suspected Taliban rebels had kidnapped an Indian driver, B.R. Kutty, with the Border Roads Organisation and three Afghans working on a road construction project between here and Herat.

“We have him,” Qari Mohammad Yousuf said by satellite phone from an undisclosed location. He gave no other details. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanezai confirmed the abduction, but did not know who the captors were.

The Taliban has kidnapped several Turkish and Indian engineers involved in roadworks in southern Afghanistan in the past years. One of the Turkish engineers was killed and the rest were freed, apparently after ransoms were paid. In September, Taliban guerrillas abducted and killed a Briton involved in a road project in the neighbouring Farah province.

The latest kidnapping coincides with a rise of violence, including a series of suicide attacks by Taliban guerrillas this week in Kabul and in the South, a stronghold of the Taliban before they were ousted from power by US-led forces in 2001.

Some 20,000 U S-led troops are in Afghanistan, hunting Taliban fighters and their Islamic allies, such as Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. More than 1,100 people, mostly militants, have died in the Taliban-led insurgency this year in Afghanistan, the bloodiest period since the Taliban’s ouster. The toll also includes almost 60 foreign troops, most of them Americans. — Reuters, PTI

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