Suicide bombers kill two Indians in Afghanistan

April 12th, 2008 - 8:53 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead, Changing dateline)

New Delhi/Kabul, April 12 (IANS) At least two engineers from India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) were killed and five injured in twin suicide attacks in Afghanistan Saturday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed while condemning the killings. The attacks took place in Nimroz province of southwest Afghanistan when suicide bombers jumped in front of convoys carrying the Indians, who have been building a road in the area.

The ministry identified the two men killed as M.P. Singh and C. Govindaswamy. The five injured men were identified as Bishram Oroan, Vikram Singh, Muhammad Nazin Khan, Anil Kumar Thampee and Mayaram. Two Afghan project personnel were also wounded.

The injured had been transported to Zaranj and are being brought to Kabul for medical treatment.

Later media reports from Kabul said there was one more Indian engineer had been killed.

The MEA strongly condemned the suicide bomb attack “aimed against its aid and humanitarian programme in Afghanistan” but reiterated India’s “determination to continue to work with the Afghan people and government for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan”.

The victims’ families have been contacted, the ministry said, adding that compensation and insurance would be provided to them immediately.

The BRO is constructing a 218-km road from Zaranj to Delaram on the Iran-Afghanistan border, which will link the highways of the land-locked country to Iranian ports.

This will open the Afghan market to Indian goods, as currently there are no transit facilities through Pakistan.

This is not the first time Indians working on this strategic road have been targeted. On Jan 3, a suicide bomber ambushed a BRO convoy, killing two Indians - Manoj Kumar Singh and Desha Singh of the Indo-Tibetan Border Force. Five people were injured in the attack.

In November 2005, a driver working with the BRO, Ramankutty Maniappan had been kidnapped and killed by the Taliban.

Following his death, India had increased the strength of its security personnel, with nearly 400 members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police guarding Indian installations and camps in Afghanistan.

Over 4,000 Indians are engaged in activities relating to the construction of various infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. India has pledged $850 million for the reconstruction of the country, making New Delhi the fifth largest donor there.

DPA adds from Kabul: One Indian engineer and his Afghan driver were killed at the scene, said Ghulom Dastagir Azaad, provincial governor. A diplomat from the Indian embassy in Kabul confirmed that a second Indian succumbed to his injuries en route to hospital.

Azaad said that a third attacker, who was also wounded in the blasts, was arrested by Afghan police.

The Taliban recently have been relying heavily on the use of suicide and roadside attacks, both tactics widely believed to have been copied from Iraqi insurgents.

More than 8,000 people - mostly insurgents - were killed in militancy last year, the bloodiest year since the fall of the Taliban regime some six years ago.

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