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Taliban threaten to kill Indian

Govt sent a team of officials to Kabul to assist Indian Embassy in securing the release of abducted Suryanarayana.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 14:17 IST

Taliban abductors of an Indian engineer in Afghanistan on Saturday evening threatened to kill him if all Indians did not leave the country by 7 pm (IST) on Sunday.

With the news of Taliban issuing the threat, the Government stepped up efforts to secure early and safe release of K Suryanarayan, but asserted that India "will continue to fulfil its solemn commitments to Afghanistan's development."

The Government on Saturday night sent a team of officials to Kabul to assist the Indian Embassy there. The team has been authorised to establish contact with all parties through appropriate channels in order to secure the safe and early release of the 41-year-old engineer.

Suryanarayan's family in Hyderabad appealed to the abductors to free him without any harm and urged the government to ensure their reunion with the father of three.

The engineer, working with a Bahrain-based company Al-Moayed and engaged in a telecom project in Afghanistan, was abducted last evening in Hassan Kareiz district of Zabul on Kandahar-Kabul highway along with his Afghan driver.

Issuing the threat, a man claiming to be the spokesman for Taliban called up a news agency and claimed that Suryanarayan was an "American spy".

"We warn all Indians working here to leave Afghanistan within 24 hours starting 6 pm (7 pm IST) today, otherwise we will kill him," the caller identifying himself as Qari Yousef Ahmadi was quoted as saying. Ahmadi releases regular statements on behalf of Taliban.

To take stock of evolving developments, Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi here chaired a high-level meeting that was also attended by senior officials from the Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also being kept briefed about the situation.

Suryanarayan had gone to Afghanistan four months ago and his employer firm is engaged in a project for Afghan mobile phone service provider Roshan Telecom.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran asserted that India would "continue to fulfil its solemn commitments to Afghanistan's development", pointing out that "our presence in that country is to promote the welfare of the people" of that country.

He said Indians, working on various projects in Afghanistan, are making a contribution to the much-needed economic recovery and reconstruction of the friendly country and a vast majority of people of that country had welcomed this.

The government was in touch with the Afghan authorities and intensified efforts to seek his early and safe release.

India has also contacted the US-led International Security Force deployed in Zabul province where the abduction took place, the Foreign Secretary said.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation," he said adding Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood was in constant touch with the Afghan National Security Adviser and other senior officials besides the employers of Suryanarayan and the telecom company whose project is being executed.

"We will like to assure Suryanarayan's family that no stone is being left unturned to obtain his release. We share their pain and grief and their anxiety and will continue with our efforts using all the resources at hand," he said.

Suryanarayan's shocked family members urged the abductors to release him without harm. "We are shocked to the core and don't know what will happen next," said his wife Manjula as family and friends descended on to their house.

His father Chandrashekar urged the government to take immediate steps for his safe release.