In touch with Afghan officials over reports of abduction of Indian: MEA

India on Thursday said it is in touch with various stakeholders to follow up reports about the abduction of an Indian national in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul
A Taliban fighter checks the trunk of a car at a checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. (AP)
A Taliban fighter checks the trunk of a car at a checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. (AP)
Updated on Sep 16, 2021 11:49 PM IST
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By HT Correspondent, New Delhi

India on Thursday said it is in touch with various stakeholders to follow up reports about the abduction of an Indian national in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul.

According to reports, Bansri Lal Arendeh was kidnapped at gunpoint in Kabul on Tuesday.

“We are in touch with all concerned. We have seen reports about local authorities undertaking investigations into this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a regular media briefing.

There has been some confusion since Tuesday whether Arendeh was an Indian citizen or an Afghan Hindu.

Asked about this issue, Bagchi replied, “I am given to understand that he is an Indian citizen but we are also checking that part.”

He declined to go into details, citing the sensitivity of the matter and security concerns.

Bagchi said a majority of Indian nationals in Afghanistan had been evacuated since the Taliban takeover of Kabul, though some were still in the country. The Indian side is still in touch with these people who were unable to return after operations at Kabul airport were suspended, he said.

India has also raised the safe return of all those who wish to leave Afghanistan with the international community, and UN Security Council resolution 2593 emphasises the issue of safe travel by Afghan nationals and minorities, he said.

“This is an important issue,” Bagchi said.

There were reports that Arendeh’s family lives in Faridabad and that he was running a business in Kabul for the past two decades.

Bagchi said in response to another question that it would be difficult to say anything definitive about the evacuation of the remaining Indians in Afghanistan and Afghan nationals till commercial flights resume from Kabul airport.

“Our focus is that operations at Kabul airport resume. Then, it will be easier for us to bring back the people,” he said.

It is believed that several dozen Indian citizens are still in Afghanistan. More than 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus were also barred by the Taliban from accessing Kabul airport to take the last evacuation flight last month.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021