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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Indian aid worker abducted in Herat, Afghanistan

PTI  Kabul, June 02, 2014
First Published: 19:36 IST(2/6/2014) | Last Updated: 20:53 IST(2/6/2014)

An Indian aid worker was on Monday abducted from Herat in Afghanistan, days after the Indian consulate in the province was attacked by heavily-armed gunmen.

The worker, who was working with a charity there, was abducted earlier in the day, according to top official sources.

More information was awaited about the identity and other details of the Indian national.

Confirming the abduction, the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, "Indian national working with an NGO in Herat province of Afghanistan has been kidnapped. Our Mission is pursuing the matter with local authorities."

The abduction comes over a week after the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat by four heavily-armed gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

The attackers were subsequently killed by the security forces, who repelled the attack.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh flew to Herat on Friday and reviewed the situation following the May 23 attack on the Indian consulate.

She held meetings in the Afghan capital on Saturday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani - the two presidential candidates - who asserted that friendship with India would remain a "top priority" for any new government in Afghanistan.

The country is experiencing a rise in the Taliban attacks as foreign troops plan to withdraw from the war-torn country by the end of the year.

In August last year, a failed bombing against the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad city near the border with Pakistan killed nine people, including six children. No Indian officials were hurt.

The Indian Embassy in Kabul was attacked twice in 2008 and 2009 that left 75 people dead.

Apart from the Salma dam project, India has invested in some major infrastructure projects including the Afghan Parliament building in Kabul.

India's development assistance programme for Afghanistan currently stands at USD two billion, making it the leading donor nation among all regional countries.


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