India condemns killing of two engineers
India on Saturday strongly condemned the suicide bomb attack that killed two of its construction workers in Afghanistan, but reiterated that it was determined to continue its assistance in the war-torn country.
Two Indians were killed and five injured when two men with explosives strapped to their bodies jumped in front of the road construction convoy in southwest Afghanistan's Nimroz province.
The two engineers of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) who died in the attack have been identified as MP Singh and C Govindaswamy, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in the Capital.
Those injured are Bishram Oroan, Vikram Singh, Muhammad Nazin Khan, Anil Kumar Thampee and Mayaram. Two Afghan project personnel were also wounded.
The MEA, in an official statement, said that India condemned the act "aimed against its aid and humanitarian programme in Afghanistan".
But it reiterated "its determination to continue to work with the Afghan people and government for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan".
The suicide attack took place between 9 am and 9.30 am in Nimroz province.
The victims' families have been contacted, the ministry said, adding that compensation and insurance would be provided to them immediately.
The BRO is constructing a 218-km road from Zaranj to Delaram on the Iran-Afghanistan border, which will link the highways of the land-locked country to Iranian ports. This will open the Afghan market to Indian goods as currently there are no transit facilities through Pakistan.
This is not the first time Indians working on this strategic road have been targeted. On Jan 3, a suicide bomber ambushed a BRO convoy, killing two Indians - Manoj Kumar Singh and Desha Singh of the Indo-Tibetan Border Force. Five people were injured in the attack.
In November 2005, a driver working with the BRO, Ramankutty Maniappan had been kidnapped and killed by the Taliban.
Following his death, India had increased the strength of its security personnel, with nearly 400 members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police guarding Indian installations and camps.
Over 4,000 Indians are engaged in activities relating to the construction of various infrastructure projects in Afghanistan. India has pledged $850 million for the reconstruction of the country, making New Delhi the fifth largest donor there.