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Indians flee Taliban country

Afghan and American soldiers have clamped a strong security ring but Indians live in danger, reports Vasistha Bhardwaj.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 10:01 IST

Gaurav Saini, son of a senior lawyer, Teg Bahadur, was a country manager (sales) in Neda Telecom and posted in Kabul (Afghanistan).

He has just returned, quitting his job, and says that Indians outside Kabul in Afghanistan, especially in Kandhar and Jalalabad, are at risk of being kidnapped and tortured by the Taliban.

The Afghan and American soldiers have clamped a very strong security ring in Kabul but the 4,500-strong Indian presence lives in danger.

A rocket had recently exploded just 20 metres from the hostel where he stayed. "The blast was so intense that I lost my hearing for several hours after the incident," he recalls.

Indians are not allowed to move freely due to strict security. But there are Taliban pockets active outside Kabul and the Taliban do not like Indians to help in the development of Afghanistan.

Therefore, despite the affection of Afghanis in general, the Taliban have been threatening Indians to leave Afghanistan, he said. The bulk of Indian presence is outside Kabul.

The murder of three Indians, Maniappan Kutty, Bharat Kumar and Hyderabad-resident K Suryanarayan were the result of Talibani abhorrence of Indians.

Gaurav Saini has been lucky to have got a very good opportunity to start his career with a reputed American concern back home.

Gaurav told that Indians working in Afghanistan are either highly ambitious or constrained by their circumstances to bear big liabilities. He said that Kandhar, Jalalabad are the bastions of people of Pakistani origin and Talibans.