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Afghan Taliban kill Indian hostage

Police found the headless body of 41-yr-old K Suryanarayan, who was kidnapped on Friday. Anguished family

india Updated: May 06, 2006 16:26 IST

Police in Afghanistan on Sunday found the body of an Indian engineer kidnapped two days ago by Taliban militants, a killing that earned swift condemnation from New Delhi.

Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said the killing of Suryanarayan was unintentional, but officials said the killing was not an accident.

The Indian was working as a contractor for Afghan mobile telephone network Roshan.

Suryanarayan's body was found in Shahjoy district of restive Zabul province in southern Afghanistan, district police chief Mohammed Mir said.

 

 Suryanarayan's family in Hyderabad

"His body was found beheaded in an area called Hassan Karez, so it cannot be an accident as the Taliban claim," an interior ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

Suryanarayan was abducted on Friday in Zabul province, along the main highway linking the capital Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar, birthplace of the Taliban movement.

On Saturday, the militants threatened to kill Suryanarayan unless all Indian nationals and companies left Afghanistan within 24 hours.

"The Indian engineer was in a room with one guard, he attacked the guard and punched him, went out of the building running as other mujahideen shot him dead," Ahmadi said.

Ahmadi said the Taliban's council of leaders was "saddened" by the incident, as New Delhi had shown its willingness to negotiate for Suryanarayan's release.

"We are sorry — the leading council had decided to extend the deadline for another 24 hours since the Indian side had showed gestures that they were ready to negotiate," he said.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned what he called the "inhuman" killing of Suryanarayan, who hailed from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad and was a father of three.

Afghan interior ministry spokesman Mohammed Yousuf Stanizai could not immediately confirm the police findings.

Indian TV channels footage of Suryanarayan's family in severe shock in Hyderabad after receiving news that he had been killed.

His wife Manjula and three children were crying inconsolably, surrounded by family members who were trying to comfort them.

Several foreign nationals working in security and reconstruction projects in war-ravaged Afghanistan have been kidnapped since the toppling of the Taliban regime in a US-led operation in late 2001.

Some kidnappings have been blamed on Taliban militants and some of those abducted have been killed, including a Briton and an Indian national last year.

The Taliban abducted and killed another Indian in November. Truck driver Maniappan Raman Kutty's almost decapitated body was dumped in another volatile southern province, Nimroz.