‘Kidnapped Indian in Afghanistan safe’

April 25th, 2008 - 5:07 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead, with additional matter)

New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) Indian national Mohammed Nayeem who was kidnapped from the Afghanistan province of Herat four days ago is safe, official sources said Friday. “As of this morning he is safe,” a senior official of the ministry of external affairs said.

“We are trying our best to get him released and this is the information we have about his safety,” the official, who was in touch with Indian authorities in Kabul, told IANS.

Nayeem, 39, who works for Dubai-based HEB International Logistics as an engineer, was kidnapped Monday evening. No group has so far claimed responsibility for his abduction, but it is believed to be the work of one of the numerous terror gangs operating in the country.

Nayeem, who is from Mangalore (rpt Mangalore) in the southern Indian state of Karnataka and is a father of three children, was abducted less than a fortnight after a suicide bomber April 12 blew himself up next to an Indian road crew in Afghanistan, killing two Indian workers and their Afghan driver.

India has already announced its decision to send more security personnel to Afghanistan to guard Indian installations and ensure the safety of Indians working there.

While announcing the decision, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had Wednesday also made it clear that India would not “succumb” to pressure from any quarters to withdraw from the strife-torn country.

The kidnapping of Nayeem is the latest in a series of incidents targeted at around 4,000 Indians working in Afghanistan on various projects.

The Taliban militia is suspected to be behind most of these attacks on Indians as they don’t want New Delhi to build the strategic Zaranj-Delaram road link that seeks to reduce Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan for overland access to Central Asia and provide an alternative route for Indian goods to that country.

India has pledged $850 million for a number of developmental projects in Afghanistan - a gateway to the energy-rich Central Asia.

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