KABUL: Authorities in Afghanistan are working with local tribal elders to trace and free eight people, including seven Indian engineers and an Afghan national kidnapped by Taliban gunmen on Sunday in Baghlan province, media reports said on Monday.
Those abducted were all electrical engineers working for a KEC International Limited, the flagship company of RPG Group. The seventh person who was seized was an Afghan.
The Pajhwok Afghan News quoted provincial police spokesman Zabiullah Shuja as saying that the Indian abductees were in good health and efforts are underway to secure their release.
According to an official, the Indians are now believed to be in Dand-e-Shahabuddin area of Pul-e-Khumri.
“We are doing whatever we can to secure their release. We have an idea of about where they might be, and who might be able to help the local administration to get their release,” said the Indian official, asking not to be named, reported Hindustan Times.
The kidnapping took place in Bagh-e-Shamal village, TOLONews reported.
According to local officials, the incident occurred while the employees were travelling for inspection to the area where the company has a contract for an electricity sub-station.
The External Affairs Ministry Sushma Swaraj had said that it is in touch with authorities in Afghanistan. “We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.
Kidnapping of locals for extortion is common in Afghanistan. Most of those abducted have been Afghans but foreign workers have also become targets.
In 2016, Indian aid worker Judith D’Souza was kidnapped in Kabul. She was released after 40 days.