Kabul, May 6: Suspected militants of the Taliban on Sunday kidnapped a total of seven Indian engineers, along with their Afghan driver, who were employed by an infrastructure company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), in the Baghlan province.
The victims were kidnapped from Bagh-e-Shamal village of the provincial capital Pul-e-Khumri, where they were on an official visit, reported TOLO News. DABS owns an an electricity substation unit in Bagh-e-Shamal.
While the Balghan police officials have confirmed the abduction of the seven individuals, including six Indians, no confirmation has been made so far on the identity of the kidnappers. The local media, however, claimed the gunmen are cadres of the prime insurgent outfit, Taliban. The extremist group is yet to claim responsibility.
Reacting the the reports of kidnap, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, "We are aware of the abduction of Indian nationals from Baghlan province in Afghanistan. We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained."
The previous instance of abduction involving an Indian national in Afghanistan was reported in 2016, when an Indian aid worker was kidnapped by the Taliban from Kabul. She was released after 40 days following hectic rounds of negotiation.
The kidnapping of seven Indian engineers also comes barely a couple of days after the Taliban staged massive attacks in capital Kabul and the influential Herat province, killing over 40 people, including 25 journalists.
After the spree of attacks, Taliban also succeeded in wresting the northern province of Badakhshan from the Afghan forces on May 2. However, the Afghan military succeeded in reclaiming the lost grounds within 48 hours.
The fresh round of violence unleashed by the Taliban comes in the backdrop of a failed talk process initiated by the government. President Ashraf Ghani, in the fall of 2017, took conscious steps towards creating track-II dialogue with the Taliban. However, the process failed to materialise.