Indian killed, four injured in Afghanistan; India condemns attack (Second Lead)

June 6th, 2008 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Kabul/New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) A constable of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was killed and four other Indians injured in a suicide attack in Afghanistan’s southwestern province of Nimroz Thursday. India strongly condemned the “terrorist attack” and said such incidents would not deter it from fulfilling its “humanitarian commitments” in the violence-torn country. Dev Kumar was killed when a man with explosives tied to his body blasted himself before a convoy. The four Indians injured were involved in constructing the Zaranj-Delaram road link. They have been identified as Ramesh Kumar, Onkar Nath, Sandeep Nath and Pradeep Singh.

The blasts occurred at around 4 p.m. local time, according to spokesman of the Afghan Interior Ministry Zamarai Bashari in Kabul.

“We strongly condemn this latest act of terrorism on a project being executed for the development of Afghanistan,” the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.

“Such acts will not deter us from fulfilling our humanitarian commitments,” the ministry stressed.

“Our deepest condolences and sympathies are with the families of the victims of this attack,” it said.

This is the third attack on Indians constructing the highway project in the last six months.

There are around 4,000 Indians working in Afghanistan on various projects.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Taliban militia is suspected to be behind the attacks on Indians as they don’t want New Delhi to build the Zaranj-Delaram road link.

The injured Indians are being treated at the project headquarters.

The Zaranj-Delaram road link 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.

In January, a Taliban suicide bomber targeted a BRO convoy in the same Nimroz province, killing two ITBP personnel and injuring four others guarding them.

Suspected Taliban carried out another attack on the Indian construction workers April 12, killing two BRO personnel and injuring five.

Nearly 400 BRO personnel are engaged in construction of the crucial 218-km highway between Zaranj and Delaram in Afghanistan.

Nearly two months ago, Mohammed Nayeem, an Indian national, was kidnapped by unidentified militants from Afghanistan’s Herat province. He was released May 18. Nayeem worked as an engineer with Dubai-based HEB International Logistics.

After the kidnapping, India sent more security forces to ensure the safety of Indian workers in that country and stressed that it will “not succumb” to the designs of terrorists.

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

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

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